Federal Communications Commission – Definition

Cite this article as:"Federal Communications Commission – Definition," in The Business Professor, updated January 11, 2020, last accessed October 21, 2020, https://thebusinessprofessor.com/lesson/federal-communications-commission-definition/.


Federal Communications Commission Definition

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is an independent US agency created to oversee and monitor interstate communications by radio, television, wire, satellite, cable and international communications inclusive. The FCC is a regulatory agency answerable to the Congress. The FCC maintains jurisdiction over the areas of broadband access, fair competition, radio frequency use, media responsibility, and others. Their sole responsibility includes protecting consumers and business interests.

The actions of the FCC are duly monitored by stock market followers because their actions and inaction can affect many companies in different industries. The FCC controls aspects ranging from media to Communications. These aspects include media company acquisitions and mergers, intellectual property rights, standards of content, media company distribution in the US, wireless and cellular access, among others. The FCC is responsible for regulating, maintaining and enforcing law and order in interstate media and communications.

A Little More on What is the FCC

The Federal Communications Commission is headed by a chairman who is appointed by the president with other four commissioners. It is mandatory for commissioners within their five-year term to stay off business controlled by the FCC. This is done to avoid a clash of interests, financial disputes or favoritism. The FCC is also subdivided into bureaus and these bureaus have over 1,500 employees.


The FCC administers punishment through fines on regulation violators. These fines can be more or less depending on the regulation violated. In other words, defaulters pay a specific amount attached to the violation of a regulation. FCC is saddled with the responsibility of enforcing the Communications Act and the Commission’s regulations. The commission has an office titled ‘Office of Administrative Judges’, here, decisions and disputes relating to the regulatory standards are resolved. The FCC’s regulatory powers include maintaining ethical standards in radio and television broadcast, implementation of manufacturing standards for communications equipment and promoting healthy competition among businesses.


The timeliness and procedures involved in FCC decisions can cause uncertainty in the future of some companies listed under FCC and can also lead to their failures in the competitive market. For example,  since Mergers and acquisitions of communication companies require FCC approval, and this approval process is designed to protect consumers and prevent monopolies, this approval might be rejected. This disapproval of interest can lead to a fall out of the company in the competitive market or result in a profit decline.

FCC in recent years has expanded domain to include broadband internet service providers by classifying the companies as common carriers under Title II of the Communications Act. This decision was taken as a result of a 3-2 vote that was along party lines in 2015. This vote outlines the possible effect the political interference of commissioners can have on interpreting regulations of the commission. To conclude, FCC extended its reach asides from radio, television, and telephone to internet service providers in 2015.

References for “Federal Communications Commission – FCC”




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