State and Local Governments Help FCC Reinvent Itself

The Federal Communications Commission earlier this week solicited input from state and local governments in an effort to complete its five-year strategy for restructuring and streamlining agency functions.

The forum, held June 2, was the second of three public gatherings designed to help the FCC hone its strategy for Congress. FCC chairman William Kennard has said in a report (www.fcc.gov/Reports/fcc21.html) that the agency will stick to its core functions: universal service, and consumer protection and information; enforcement and promotion of competition; and spectrum management.

"Electronic commerce will play an even more central role in the economy of the 21st century. Americans in the next century will be connected throughout the day and evening, relying on advanced technologies not only to communicate with others but also as a vital tool for performing daily tasks -- such as shopping or banking -- for interacting with government and other institutions -- such as voting, tax filing, health and education -- and for entertainment -- such as video, audio and interactive games," according to the report.

Just as the world and the economy are changing, so must the FCC. And advising the agency at Wednesday's meeting were the National League of Cities, the Local and State Government Advisory Council, the National Association of Telecommunications Officers and Advisors and the U.S. Conference of Mayors, among others.

Specifically, the FCC used the forum to get answers to three questions:

1. What should the FCC's role be in the 21st century?

2. How can the FCC work more efficiently to deliver services to the public?

3. How should the FCC be structured in the communications marketplace of the future?

To hear how state and local governments answered those questions, listen to an audiocast of the forum available at www.fcc.gov/21st_century/.

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