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H.R. 599 (115th): Federal Communications Commission Consolidated Reporting Act of 2017

H.R. 599 amends Title I of the Communications Act of 1934 by directing the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to publish on its website and submit to the Committee on Energy and Commerce a report on the state of the communications marketplace biennially by consolidating eight separate reports into one single report. Each biennial report must assess: 1) the state of competition in the communications marketplace, including competition to deliver voice, video, audio, and data services among telecommunications providers, mobile service providers, broadcast stations, satellite providers, internet service providers, and other communications service providers; 2) the deployment of communications capabilities, including whether advanced telecommunications capabilities are being deployed to Americans in a timely fashion; and 3) whether laws, regulations, or regulatory practices pose a barrier to competitive entry or expansion of current providers of communications services. The biennial report is additionally required to describe the agenda of the FCC for the next 2-year period for addressing the challenges and opportunities in the communications market; and describe the action that the Commission has taken in pursuit of the agenda.

Furthermore, the FCC is directed to compile a list of geographical areas that are not served by any provider of advanced telecommunications capability. The FCC is permitted to use available data to draw comparisons between the U.S. and the international communications marketplace. In addition, the Commission is directed to consider market entry barriers for entrepreneurs and small businesses in the communications marketplace. Finally, this legislation repeals and consolidates twelve FCC reports that previously were authorized under the Communications Act of 1934.

Last updated Mar 18, 2017. Source: Republican Policy Committee

The summary below was written by the Congressional Research Service, which is a nonpartisan division of the Library of Congress, and was published on Jan 23, 2017.


(This measure has not been amended since it was introduced. The summary has been expanded because action occurred on the measure.)

Federal Communications Commission Consolidated Reporting Act of 2017

(Sec. 2) This bill amends the Communications Act of 1934 to replace various reporting requirements with a communications marketplace report that the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) must publish on its website and submit to Congress every two years assessing: (1) competition in the communications marketplace; (2) deployment of communications capabilities, including whether advanced telecommunications capability is being deployed to all Americans in a reasonable and timely fashion; and (3) whether laws, regulations, or regulatory practices pose a barrier to competitive entry or expansion of existing providers of communications services.

The report must describe the FCC's actions in the marketplace and its agenda for the next two years. The FCC must: (1) compile a list of geographic areas that are not served by any provider of advanced telecommunications capability; and (2) consider market entry barriers for entrepreneurs and small businesses in accordance with national policy favoring diversity of media voices, competition, technological advancement, and promotion of the public interest, convenience, and necessity.

The FCC's competition assessments must include the aggregate average total amount paid by cable systems for retransmission consent.

(Sec. 3) The bill repeals or consolidates various reports of the FCC and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, including reports on satellite competition, international broadband, video programming, cable industry prices, small business entry barriers, commercial mobile radio, services to minority and diverse audiences, waivers from requirements prohibiting FCC employees from being financially interested in companies subject to FCC regulation, and several other existing reports.

The Telecommunications Act of 1996 is amended to require the FCC to determine from the communications marketplace report every two years (currently, in an inquiry initiated each year) whether it must act immediately to accelerate deployment of advanced telecommunications capabilities, particularly in elementary and secondary schools, by removing barriers to infrastructure investment and promoting competition.