Federal Communications Law Journal

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Publication Citation

48 Federal Communications Law Journal 219 (1996)


In the past year, Congress has sealed the fate of the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA). Although President Clinton has pledged to veto any action that abolishes the Commerce Department, in which the NTIA is located, Congress will ultimately dismantle the NTIA. Thus, the question becomes what entity will shoulder NTIA's workload, which includes among other responsibilities managing federal use of the radio frequency spectrum, developing executive branch telecommunications policy, and administering the Federal Grants Program.
Although the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) appears to many a natural successor to the NTIA's varied responsibilities, the Authors suggest other agencies are more appropriate. For instance, relocation of NTIA's spectrum management functions are better suited to the General Services Administration (GSA), Office of Management and Budget (OMB), or the Treasury Department. The Authors indicate that these agencies are in a more neutral position than the FCC because they do not have a relationship with the private sector which makes balancing the needs of competing groups difficult. Moreover, the NTIA's policy-making functions should remain with an executive branch agency in order to provide the president the ability to take independent positions on telecommunications issues.