Is the FCC getting desperate?

by on December 20, 2005 · 8 comments

So I’m working on a paper on cable franchising and was reading the FCC’s latest proposed rulemaking on the topic (PDF). In it they claim the authority to preempt local franchise regulations that are barriers to entry. They FCC finds authority to do this in Section 621(a)(1) of the Communications Act, which states that local authorities “may not unreasonably refuse to award an additional competitive franchise.” So far so good.

I get to the last item in their “authority” section and there they ask, “Finally, we seek comment on possible sources of Commission authority, other than Section 621(a)(1), to address problems caused by the local franchising process. For example … could the Commission take action to address franchise-related concerns pursuant to Section 706?” So I ask myself, what’s Section 706? Imagine my surprise when I turned to that section and found, “SEC. 706. [47 U.S.C. 606] WAR EMERGENCY–POWERS OF PRESIDENT.” The section goes on to say that in time of war the president can commandeer the airwaves and other communications facilities, etc.

This has got to be a typo. Right?

  • James Gattuso

    The sec. 706 the Commission was is using here has nothing to do with war powers. They were referring to section 706 of the Telecommunications Act of 1996, which directs the FCC to encourage advanced services, NOT section 706 of the Communications Act of 1934 (war powers). It’s an entirely appropriate provision for the FCC to consider using in this proceeding.

  • James Gattuso

    The sec. 706 the Commission was is using here has nothing to do with war powers. They were referring to section 706 of the Telecommunications Act of 1996, which directs the FCC to encourage advanced services, NOT section 706 of the Communications Act of 1934 (war powers). It’s an entirely appropriate provision for the FCC to consider using in this proceeding.

  • http://precision-blogging.blogspot.com precision blogger

    The FCC has hit on a great idea, not a typo. The current “war” (on terrorism) obviously will never end, so war powers will be permanent. It’s really worth grabbing any power you can get that might be permanent, isn’t it?
    - precision blogger,
    http://precision-blogging.blogspot.com

  • http://precision-blogging.blogspot.com precision blogger

    The FCC has hit on a great idea, not a typo. The current “war” (on terrorism) obviously will never end, so war powers will be permanent. It’s really worth grabbing any power you can get that might be permanent, isn’t it?
    - precision blogger,
    http://precision-blogging.blogspot.com

  • http://jerrybrito.com Jerry Brito

    James, Thanks for pointing this out. From reading the NPRM, however, it’s impossible to tell that’s what they meant. In the sentence before they mention Ã??Ã?§ 706 they refer to Ã??Ã?§ 621(a)(1) of the 1934 Act. In fact, every mention of a statutory section before Ã??Ã?§ 706 is in reference to the 1934 Act. So, it’s disconcerting that they suddenly say ‘Do we have Authority under Ã??Ã?§ 706?” and don’t bother to say they mean to reference the 1996 Act and not the 34 Act generally. I guess it’s just jargon and they expect everyone to know what 706 means. -Jerry

  • http://www.jerrybrito.com Jerry Brito

    James, Thanks for pointing this out. From reading the NPRM, however, it’s impossible to tell that’s what they meant. In the sentence before they mention Ã??Ã?§ 706 they refer to Ã??Ã?§ 621(a)(1) of the 1934 Act. In fact, every mention of a statutory section before Ã??Ã?§ 706 is in reference to the 1934 Act. So, it’s disconcerting that they suddenly say ‘Do we have Authority under Ã??Ã?§ 706?” and don’t bother to say they mean to reference the 1996 Act and not the 34 Act generally. I guess it’s just jargon and they expect everyone to know what 706 means. -Jerry

  • James Gattuso

    It’s jargon. Like saying “section 214″ or “271 approvals”. It’s meant to keep outsiders out of telecommunications. There’s a secret handshake too, but I’m not allowed to show it to you.

  • James Gattuso

    It’s jargon. Like saying “section 214″ or “271 approvals”. It’s meant to keep outsiders out of telecommunications. There’s a secret handshake too, but I’m not allowed to show it to you.

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