Federal Communications Commission: Non-U.S.-Licensed Satellites Providing Domestic and International Service in the United States

Published by the Government Accountability Office on 1997-12-16.

Below is a raw (and likely hideous) rendition of the original report. (PDF)

      United States
GAO   General Accounting Office
      Washington, D.C. 20548

      Office of the General Counsel


      December 16, 1997

      The Honorable John McCain
      The Honorable Ernest F. Hollings
      Ranking Minority Member
      Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation
      United States Senate

      The Honorable Thomas J. Bliley, Jr.
      The Honorable John D. Dingell
      Ranking Minority Member
      Committee on Commerce
      House of Representatives

      Subject:   Federal Communications Commission: Non-U.S.-Licensed Satellites
                 Providing Domestic and International Service in the United States

      Pursuant to section 801(a)(2)(A) of title 5, United States Code, this is our report on
      a major rule promulgated by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC),
      entitled "Non-U.S.-Licensed Satellites Providing Domestic and International Service
      in the United States" (IB Docket No. 96-111; CC Docket No. 93-23; FCC 97-399). We
      received the rule on December 3, 1997. It was published in the Federal Register as
      a final rule on December 4, 1997. 62 Fed. Reg. 64167.

      The final rule adopts a new standard for foreign participation in the U.S. satellite
      services market consistent with the United States' obligation under the World Trade
      Organization Agreement on Basic Telecommunications Services (Agreement). The
      procedures will provide opportunities for foreign entities to deliver satellite services
      here, and the liberalized market conditions resulting from the Agreement will allow
      U.S. companies to enter previously closed markets.

      Enclosed is our assessment of the FCC's compliance with the procedural steps
      required by section 801(a)(1)(B)(i) through (iv) of title 5 with respect to the rule.
      Our review indicates that the FCC complied with the applicable requirements.

If you have any questions about this report, please contact James Vickers, Assistant
General Counsel, at (202) 512-8210. The official responsible for GAO evaluation
work relating to the Federal Communications Commission is John Anderson,
Director of Transportation Issues. Mr. Anderson can be reached at (202) 512-2834.

Robert P. Murphy
General Counsel


cc: Mr. Peter W. Herrick
    AMD-Performance Evaluation and
     Records Management
    Federal Communications Commission

Page 2                                                             GAO/OGC-98-18

       ANALYSIS UNDER 5 U.S.C. § 801(a)(1)(B)(i)-(iv) OF A MAJOR RULE
                                   ISSUED BY
            (IB Docket No. 96-111; CC Docket No. 93-23; FCC 97-399)

(i) Cost-benefit analysis

The FCC, in its report to our Office, states that it was not required to prepare and
did not prepare a cost-benefit analysis of the final rule.

(ii) Agency actions relevant to the Regulatory Flexibility Act, 5 U.S.C. §§ 603-605,
607, and 609

The FCC prepared both an Initial Regulatory Flexibility Analysis and a Final
Regulatory Flexibility Analysis, which appeared in the preambles to the proposed
rule and the final rule, respectively.

The analyses describe the reason for the rule and the legal basis for it. They also
include descriptions of the number of small entities affected by the rule; discussions
of the recordkeeping, reporting, and other compliance requirements; and the steps
taken to minimize the burdens on small entities.

In the Final Regulatory Flexibility Analysis, the FCC finds that there will be no
economic impact on small businesses. No additional burdens are being imposed on
foreign-licensed systems, large or small, because the FCC will apply the same rules
that have been applied to U.S. licensed systems.

(iii) Agency actions relevant to sections 202-205 of the Unfunded Mandates Reform
Act of 1995, 2 U.S.C. §§ 1532-1535

As an independent regulatory agency, the FCC is not subject to title II of the
Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995.

(iv) Other relevant information or requirements under acts and executive orders

Administrative Procedure Act, 5 U.S.C. §§ 551 et seq.

The final rule was promulgated using the notice and comment procedures contained
in 5 U.S.C. § 553. The FCC published a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking in the

Federal Register on June 24, 1996. 61 Fed. Reg. 32398. Following the conclusion of
negotiations of the Agreement, the FCC revised its proposed rule and published a
Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on July 29, 1997. 62 Fed. Reg. 40494. The
FCC received more than 100 comments from parties in the United States and
overseas, which were considered in the issuance of the final rule.

Paperwork Reduction Act, 44 U.S.C. §§ 3501-3520

The final rule contains a modification of a previously approved information
collection requirement under the Paperwork Reduction Act.

The preamble to the final rule sets forth the information required by the act,
including the need and use of the information, the estimated number of
respondents, and the annual burden hours imposed.

The information will be used to evaluate the legal, technical, and financial ability of
the applicants requesting authority to operate. It is estimated that there will be
1,310 respondents and the burden hours vary from 11 to 24 hours per response
depending on the type of authorization requested. The total cost of compliance
with the information collection is estimated to be $5.8 million.

No information will be collected and no party need respond until the collections are
approved by the Office of Management and Budget and a control number is issued.
The FCC will publish a notice in the Federal Register when such approval is

Statutory authorization for the rule

The final rule is issued pursuant to the authority contained in sections 1, 2, 4(i),
303(r), 308, 309, and 310 of the Communications Act of 1934, as amended, 47
U.S.C. §§ 151, 152, 154(i), 303(r), 308, 309, and 310.

Executive Order No. 12866

The rule, promulgated by an independent regulatory agency, is not subject to the
review requirements of Executive Order No. 12866.

Page 2                                                                GAO/OGC-98-18