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This paper aims to analyze the contradictions between telecommunications regulation and environmental law in America, via coverage of the problem of large numbers of birds…
This paper aims to analyze the contradictions between telecommunications regulation and environmental law in America, via coverage of the problem of large numbers of birds being killed at communications towers.
Via statutory, legal, and qualitative analysis, this article provides an analysis of Federal Communications Commission (FCC) compliance with environmental statutes and the conflicts that arise between the agency's mandate to maintain a robust telecommunications network and its statutory responsibilities for environmental protection.
Every year, millions of birds are killed at communications towers. In 1999, the US Fish and Wildlife Service issued guidelines urging the FCC to take action on this problem, as required by various environmental statutes. The FCC ignored the guidelines for several years and defeated the American Bird Conservancy in court when that group sued for observance of the guidelines, but this ruling was later overturned on appeal. The FCC has exhibited a pattern of responding to these developments years after the fact while obfuscating its previous history of non‐compliance and non‐cooperation. As of early 2012 no viable solution to the avian mortality problem has been proposed.
The FCC is required to comply with federal environmental statutes and regulations. However, citizens wishing to dispute FCC environmental compliance will face challenges arising from conflicting statutes and inconsistencies in federal agency behavior.
There has been very little research on the intersection of environmental law and telecommunications regulation, and the particular matter of avian mortality at communications towers has only been analyzed by ornithologists and environmental scientists.
The Bureau of Economics in the Federal Trade Commission has a three-part role in the Agency and the strength of its functions changed over time depending on the preferences and ideology of the FTC’s leaders, developments in the field of economics, and the tenor of the times. The over-riding current role is to provide well considered, unbiased economic advice regarding antitrust and consumer protection law enforcement cases to the legal staff and the Commission. The second role, which long ago was primary, is to provide reports on investigations of various industries to the public and public officials. This role was more recently called research or “policy R&D”. A third role is to advocate for competition and markets both domestically and internationally. As a practical matter, the provision of economic advice to the FTC and to the legal staff has required that the economists wear “two hats,” helping the legal staff investigate cases and provide evidence to support law enforcement cases while also providing advice to the legal bureaus and to the Commission on which cases to pursue (thus providing “a second set of eyes” to evaluate cases). There is sometimes a tension in those functions because building a case is not the same as evaluating a case. Economists and the Bureau of Economics have provided such services to the FTC for over 100 years proving that a sub-organization can survive while playing roles that sometimes conflict. Such a life is not, however, always easy or fun.
This paper aims to analyze the environmental and historic preservation precedents that have been adopted and acknowledged by telecommunications firms when expanding their…
This paper aims to analyze the environmental and historic preservation precedents that have been adopted and acknowledged by telecommunications firms when expanding their physical infrastructures.
This paper will conduct a policy analysis of contradictory regulatory goals that are expected to arise during the near-future rollout of 5G in the USA. This will be done via traditional legal research combined with a critical policy focus. Particular attention will be given to the public interest remedies that have been established for companies that have used private or public property.
Due to the spatial requirements of 5G network infrastructure, telecommunications policy (in which network development is paramount) is expected to conflict with land use-oriented regulations (environmental and historic preservation) in places where new 5G infrastructure must be approved and built.
Ultimately, the paper will argue that conflicts will arise in local areas where the 5G rollout is expected to impact environmentally pristine areas or historic buildings.
Research in the environmental effects of 5G technology in general is becoming common, but conflicts between network construction and particular environmental or historic preservation regulations has not been the topic of organized research thus far.
This paper examines the relationship between television station ownership characteristics and local news and public affairs programming through an expanded analysis of…
This paper examines the relationship between television station ownership characteristics and local news and public affairs programming through an expanded analysis of data from the Federal Communication's Commission (FCC's) recent study of Big Four broadcast network affiliates. The results indicate that the FCC's conclusion that network‐owned and operated stations provide more local news and public affairs programming than other affiliates, and that stations with newspaper holdings provide more local news and public affairs programming than stations without newspaper holdings holds up only when these two program types are analyzed in combination. When these two program types are analyzed independently, and when additional explanatory factors are taken into consideration, these ownership characteristics are positively related to news programming, but not to public affairs programming.
Sheds light on the “new” Federal Communications Commission (FCC), and its opportunity to fashion an Agenda for Reform to fulfil the 1999 Act’s vision. Submits that since the passing of the Act, some progress has, of course, been made and this progress should be recognized. Concludes there is no shortage of work to be done to bring the newly constituted Commission’s policies more in line with the realities of the pre‐competitive and deregulatory vision of the Telecommunications Act of 1996.
In the USA, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) provides support to State and local governments in fulfilment of their responsibilities for preparedness…
In the USA, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) provides support to State and local governments in fulfilment of their responsibilities for preparedness, response, recovery and mitigation of disasters. One method FEMA has used to support State and local emergency communication functions was to sign and implement a Memorandum of Understanding with the American Radio Relay League (ARRL) for amateur radio operators to provide electronic communications for State and local governments in disasters. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has licensed more than 600,000 amateur radio operators in the USA. The national organization of amateur radio operators called the American Radio Relay League (ARRL) was formed in 1914. More than 80,000 of these amateurs have registered their availability for emergency communications in disasters in the ARRL’s Amateur Radio Emergency Service (ARES). Amateur radio operators have been providing communications in natural disasters such as floods, hurricanes and earthquakes since 1910. Since amateur radio operation was prohibited during the years of both World Wars I and II, FEMA has sponsored a new branch of the amateur service called Radio Amateur Civil Emergency Service (RACES). RACES operators are authorized to operate if the President invokes his War Emergency Powers while all other amateur operation would be silenced. Examines the role of amateur radio in providing emergency electronic communications for disaster management and explores future contributions.
In 1999 the Federal Communications Commission adopted an order granting complete deregulation of the rates for special access service for specific metropolitan statistical…
In 1999 the Federal Communications Commission adopted an order granting complete deregulation of the rates for special access service for specific metropolitan statistical areas based on an objective showing that there was potential competition in that market. This was done in an environment where the local exchange carriers (LECs) subject to price caps were earning a rate of return in excess of 22 percent, with the rate of return on an upward trend. By 2002, the average rate of return across all price cap LECs topped 35 percent. The question that is investigated in this paper is whether the price cap LECs have market power in supplying special access service and whether they have taken advantage of this. The data clearly show that this is the case. Given the prevailing situation, there is a clear need to revisit the pricing flexibility order. First, the product market for special access service needs to be more carefully examined. Second, the metrics used to define the potential for competition need to be revamped.
Over the past 30 years the United States has grappled with the regulation of children's advertising in various media. The same debate that occurred in the 1970's in the US…
Over the past 30 years the United States has grappled with the regulation of children's advertising in various media. The same debate that occurred in the 1970's in the US over banning children's advertising is heating up in the EU today. As with other regulatory issues the regulation of children's advertising involves trade‐offs. In the US, the First Amendment rights of the advertisers must be balanced with the government interest in protecting children. The regulation of children's advertising also involves balancing the competing interests of advocacy groups, legislators, broadcasters and advertisers. Advocacy groups have been very effective in focusing public attention on the issues of children's advertising. One of the most vocal and impactful groups was Action for Children's Television (ACT), whose efforts culminated in the passage of the 1990 Children's Television Act. Once that was accomplished, ACT was disbanded. In more recent years, however, the Centre for Media Education (CME) has replaced ACT in calling for regulation of children's advertising. CME was instrumental in pushing the 1996 FTC investigation related to 900 telephone numbers directed at children, and is now behind the Child Online Protection Act (COPA). The same questions raised nearly 30 years ago by ACT are now being cast in the US in terms of the Internet, otherwise little has changed. Each new innovation in media and technology ushers similar questions to the table, and the same balancing act must again be employed to answer the basic question: how far do we go to protect our children? The US's answer to this question offers insights for other countries seeking answers to similar questions.
Discussions between the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and communications policy makers and regulators in other countries have gleaned several clusters of issues…
Discussions between the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and communications policy makers and regulators in other countries have gleaned several clusters of issues where further research would directly benefit them. Recently, there have been two notable shifts. First, as the acceptance of the competition model over the monopoly model for telecommunications markets takes deep effect in regulators all over the world, questions regarding process and procedure for regulation are becoming ever more urgent. This paper discusses current questions regarding decision making, enforcement, and understanding consumer issues that arise often in the FCC's discussions with other regulators. Second, technological change is potentially shifting market definitions. In the FCC's discussion with other regulators over the last two years, the overlap of wireline telecom, wireless telecom and cable television has become more pronounced.