Last updated: January 7, 2009 - 10:20pm
In a letter to Presidential Transition Team member Susan Crawford, the National Cable & Telecommunications Association President Kyle McSlarrow has offered some suggestions for how to reform the Federal Communications Commission and remedy its current "process breakdowns." In broad strokes, he asked for swifter action that keeps pace with the "blistering rate" at which technology changes; more transparency and public input rather than "gaming by regulators or privileged insiders"; decisions based on facts; and regular rule modifications to keep up with that blistering pace.
Pointing out that the concerns are shared by some members of Congress, McSlarrow said specifically that the FCC should draw clear distinctions between notices of inquiry (NOIs) and notices of proposed rulemaking (NPRMs), including confining broad inquiries with no tentative conclusions to the former category. Then, at whatever point a rulemaking is actually proposed, providing plenty of notice to the public and opportunity to comment. McSlarrow would like public notice when items are circulated by the chairman among the other commissioners for a vote. He also suggested that agendas for public meetings be set three months in advance, rather than the current three weeks, and texts of the actual rule or decision made public at the same time. Currently, the chairman walks reporters through the broad strokes of the decisions about three weeks beforehand.
McSlarrow says the FCC should not act on items based on last-minute filings, and reports should be available in draft form for public comment before votes on them. To help it act in a timely fashion, McSlarrow recommends a 180-day shot clock on waiver requests, and asks the FCC to do a better job of holding to the informal 180-day clock it set for merger reviews. He also wants texts of FCC orders released within 30 days of adoption.
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