Federal Communications Law Journal

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Publication Citation

54 Federal Communications Law Journal 199 (2002)


Commissioner Abernathy discusses the five key principles that inform her regulatory philosophy:
1) Congress sets the FCC's responsibilities in the Communications Act, and the Commission should faithfully implement those tasks rather than pursuing an independent agenda;
2) Fully functioning markets deliver better products and services to consumers as compared to markets regulated by the government. Unless structural factors prevent markets from being competitive, or Congress has established objectives (such as universal service) that are not market-based, government should be reluctant to intervene in the marketplace;
3) Where the FCC promulgates rules, it should ensure that those rules are clear and vigorously enforced;
4) A regulatory agency cannot possibly duplicate the resources and expertise of those it regulates. Therefore, the FCC must be humble about its own abilities and must reach out to consumer groups, industry, trade associations, and state regulators to maximize the information available in the decision-making process;
5) As a government agency supported by taxpayers, the FCC should strive to provide the same degree of responsiveness and effectiveness that would be expected of an organization in the private sector.