[USC03] 47 USC Ch. 5: WIRE OR RADIO COMMUNICATION
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47 USC Ch. 5: WIRE OR RADIO COMMUNICATION
From Title 47—TELECOMMUNICATIONS

CHAPTER 5—WIRE OR RADIO COMMUNICATION

SUBCHAPTER I—GENERAL PROVISIONS

Sec.
151.
Purposes of chapter; Federal Communications Commission created.
152.
Application of chapter.
153.
Definitions.
154.
Federal Communications Commission.
155.
Commission.
155a.
Authority of Chief Information Officer.
156.
Authorization of appropriations.
157.
New technologies and services.
158.
Application fees.
159.
Regulatory fees.
159a.
Provisions applicable to application and regulatory fees.
160.
Competition in provision of telecommunications service.
161.
Regulatory reform.
162.
Additional research authorities of the FCC.
163.
Communications marketplace report.

        

SUBCHAPTER II—COMMON CARRIERS

Part I—Common Carrier Regulation

201.
Service and charges.
202.
Discriminations and preferences.
203.
Schedules of charges.
204.
Hearings on new charges; suspension pending hearing; refunds; duration of hearing; appeal of order concluding hearing.
205.
Commission authorized to prescribe just and reasonable charges; penalties for violations.
206.
Carriers' liability for damages.
207.
Recovery of damages.
208.
Complaints to Commission; investigations; duration of investigation; appeal of order concluding investigation.
209.
Orders for payment of money.
210.
Franks and passes; free service to governmental agencies in connection with national defense.
211.
Contracts of carriers; filing with Commission.
212.
Interlocking directorates; officials dealing in securities.
213.
Valuation of property of carrier.
214.
Extension of lines or discontinuance of service; certificate of public convenience and necessity.
215.
Examination of transactions relating to furnishing of services, equipment, etc.; reports to Congress.
216.
Receivers and trustees; application of chapter.
217.
Agents' acts and omissions; liability of carrier.
218.
Management of business; inquiries by Commission.
219.
Reports by carriers; contents and requirements generally.
220.
Accounts, records, and memoranda.
221.
Consolidations and mergers of telephone companies.
222.
Privacy of customer information.
223.
Obscene or harassing telephone calls in the District of Columbia or in interstate or foreign communications.
224.
Pole attachments.
225.
Telecommunications services for hearing-impaired and speech-impaired individuals.
226.
Telephone operator services.
227.
Restrictions on use of telephone equipment.
227a.
Consumer education materials on how to avoid scams that rely upon misleading or inaccurate caller identification information.
228.
Regulation of carrier offering of pay-per-call services.
229.
Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act compliance.
230.
Protection for private blocking and screening of offensive material.
231.
Restriction of access by minors to materials commercially distributed by means of World Wide Web that are harmful to minors.

        

Part II—Development of Competitive Markets

251.
Interconnection.
252.
Procedures for negotiation, arbitration, and approval of agreements.
253.
Removal of barriers to entry.
254.
Universal service.
255.
Access by persons with disabilities.
256.
Coordination for interconnectivity.
257.
Market entry barriers proceeding.
258.
Illegal changes in subscriber carrier selections.
259.
Infrastructure sharing.
260.
Provision of telemessaging service.
261.
Effect on other requirements.
262.
Ensuring the integrity of voice communications.

        

Part III—Special Provisions Concerning Bell Operating Companies

271.
Bell operating company entry into interLATA services.
272.
Separate affiliate; safeguards.
273.
Manufacturing by Bell operating companies.
274.
Electronic publishing by Bell operating companies.
275.
Alarm monitoring services.
276.
Provision of payphone service.

        

SUBCHAPTER III—SPECIAL PROVISIONS RELATING TO RADIO

Part I—General Provisions

301.
License for radio communication or transmission of energy.
302.
Repealed.
302a.
Devices which interfere with radio reception.
303.
Powers and duties of Commission.
303a.
Standards for children's television programming.
303b.
Consideration of children's television service in broadcast license renewal.
303c.
Television program improvement.
304.
Waiver by license of claims to particular frequency or of electromagnetic spectrum.
305.
Government owned stations.
306.
Foreign ships; application of section 301.
307.
Licenses.
308.
Requirements for license.
309.
Application for license.
309a.
Reports related to spectrum auctions.
310.
License ownership restrictions.
311.
Requirements as to certain applications in broadcasting service.
312.
Administrative sanctions.
312a.
Revocation of operator's license used in unlawful distribution of controlled substances.
313.
Application of antitrust laws to manufacture, sale, and trade in radio apparatus.
314.
Competition in commerce; preservation.
315.
Candidates for public office.
316.
Modification by Commission of station licenses or construction permits; burden of proof.
317.
Announcement of payment for broadcast.
318.
Transmitting apparatus; operator's license.
319.
Construction permits.
320.
Stations liable to interfere with distress signals; designation and regulation.
321.
Distress signals and communications; equipment on vessels; regulations.
322.
Exchanging radio communications between land and ship stations and from ship to ship.
323.
Interference between Government and commercial stations.
324.
Use of minimum power.
325.
False, fraudulent, or unauthorized transmissions.
326.
Censorship.
327.
Naval stations; use for commercial messages; rates.
328.
Repealed.
329.
Administration of radio laws in Territories and possessions.
330.
Prohibition against shipment of certain television receivers.
331.
Very high frequency stations and AM radio stations.
332.
Mobile services.
333.
Willful or malicious interference.
334.
Limitation on revision of equal employment opportunity regulations.
335.
Direct broadcast satellite service obligations.
336.
Broadcast spectrum flexibility.
337.
Allocation and assignment of new public safety services licenses and commercial licenses.
338.
Carriage of local television signals by satellite carriers.
339.
Carriage of distant television stations by satellite carriers.
340.
Significantly viewed signals permitted to be carried.
341.
Carriage of television signals to certain subscribers.
342.
Process for issuing qualified carrier certification.
343.
Conditions on commercial terrestrial operations.

        

Part II—Radio Equipment and Radio Operators On Board Ship

351.
Ship radio stations and operations.
352.
Exemptions.
353.
Radio equipment and operators.
353a.
Operators and watches on radiotelephone equipped ships.
354.
Technical requirements of equipment on radiotelegraph equipped ships.
354a.
Technical requirements of equipment on radiotelephone equipped ships.
355.
Survival craft.
356.
Approval of installations by Commission.
357.
Safety information.
358.
Master's control over operations.
359.
Certificates of compliance; issuance, modification, and cancellation.
360.
Station licenses; inspection of equipment by Commission.
361.
Control by Commission; review of decisions.
362.
Forfeitures; recovery.
363.
Automated ship distress and safety systems.

        

Part III—Radio Installations on Vessels Carrying Passengers for Hire

381.
Vessels transporting more than six passengers for hire required to be equipped with radiotelephone.
382.
Vessels excepted from radiotelephone requirement.
383.
Exemptions by Commission.
384.
Authority of Commission; operations, installations, and additional equipment.
385.
Inspections.
386.
Forfeitures.

        

Part IV—Assistance for Planning and Construction of Public Telecommunications Facilities; Telecommunications Demonstrations; Corporation for Public Broadcasting; General Provisions

subpart a—assistance for planning and construction of public telecommunications facilities

390.
Declaration of purpose.
391.
Authorization of appropriations.
392.
Grants for construction.
392a.
Repealed.
393.
Criteria for approval and expenditures by Secretary.
393a.
Long-range planning for facilities.

        

subpart b—national endowment for children's educational television

394.
Establishment of National Endowment.

        

subpart c—telecommunications demonstrations

395.
Assistance for demonstration projects.

        

subpart d—corporation for public broadcasting

396.
Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

        

subpart e—general provisions

397.
Definitions.
398.
Federal interference or control.
399.
Support of political candidates prohibited.
399a.
Use of business or institutional logograms.
399b.
Offering of certain services, facilities, or products by public broadcast station.

        

SUBCHAPTER IV—PROCEDURAL AND ADMINISTRATIVE PROVISIONS

401.
Enforcement provisions.
402.
Judicial review of Commission's orders and decisions.
403.
Inquiry by Commission on its own motion.
404.
Reports of investigations.
405.
Petition for reconsideration; procedure; disposition; time of filing; additional evidence; time for disposition of petition for reconsideration of order concluding hearing or investigation; appeal of order.
406.
Compelling furnishing of facilities; mandamus; jurisdiction.
407.
Order for payment of money; petition for enforcement; procedure; order of Commission as prima facie evidence; costs; attorneys' fees.
408.
Order not for payment of money; when effective.
409.
Hearings.
410.
Joint boards and commissions.
411.
Joinder of parties.
412.
Documents filed with Commission as public records; prima facie evidence; confidential records.
413.
Designation of agent for service; method of service.
414.
Exclusiveness of chapter.
415.
Limitations of actions.
416.
Orders of Commission.

        

SUBCHAPTER V—PENAL PROVISIONS; FORFEITURES

501.
General penalty.
502.
Violation of rules, regulations, etc.
503.
Forfeitures.
504.
Forfeitures.
505.
Venue of trials.
506.
Repealed.
507.
Violation of Great Lakes Agreement.
508.
Disclosure of payments to individuals connected with broadcasts.
509.
Prohibited practices in contests of knowledge, skill, or chance.
510.
Forfeiture of communications devices.

        

SUBCHAPTER V–A—CABLE COMMUNICATIONS

Part I—General Provisions

521.
Purposes.
522.
Definitions.

        

Part II—Use of Cable Channels and Cable Ownership Restrictions

531.
Cable channels for public, educational, or governmental use.
532.
Cable channels for commercial use.
533.
Ownership restrictions.
534.
Carriage of local commercial television signals.
535.
Carriage of noncommercial educational television.
536.
Regulation of carriage agreements.
537.
Sales of cable systems.
537a.
Carriage of certain programming.

        

Part III—Franchising and Regulation

541.
General franchise requirements.
542.
Franchise fees.
543.
Regulation of rates.
544.
Regulation of services, facilities, and equipment.
544a.
Consumer electronics equipment compatibility.
545.
Modification of franchise obligations.
546.
Renewal.
547.
Conditions of sale.
548.
Development of competition and diversity in video programming distribution.
549.
Competitive availability of navigation devices.

        

Part IV—Miscellaneous Provisions

551.
Protection of subscriber privacy.
552.
Consumer protection and customer service.
553.
Unauthorized reception of cable service.
554.
Equal employment opportunity.
555.
Judicial proceedings.
555a.
Limitation of franchising authority liability.
556.
Coordination of Federal, State, and local authority.
557.
Existing franchises.
558.
Criminal and civil liability.
559.
Obscene programming.
560.
Scrambling of cable channels for nonsubscribers.
561.
Scrambling of sexually explicit adult video service programming.

        

Part V—Video Programming Services Provided by Telephone Companies

571.
Regulatory treatment of video programming services.
572.
Prohibition on buy outs.
573.
Establishment of open video systems.

        

SUBCHAPTER VI—MISCELLANEOUS PROVISIONS

601.
Interstate Commerce Commission and Postmaster General; duties, powers, and functions transferred to Commission.
602, 603.
Repealed.
604.
Effect of transfer.
605.
Unauthorized publication or use of communications.
606.
War powers of President.
607.
Effective date of chapter.
608.
Separability.
609.
Short title.
610.
Telephone service for disabled.
611.
Closed-captioning of public service announcements.
612.
Syndicated exclusivity.
613.
Video programming accessibility.
614.
Telecommunications Development Fund.
615.
Support for universal emergency telephone number.
615a.
Service provider parity of protection.
615a–1.
Duty to provide 9–1–1 and enhanced 9–1–1 service.
615b.
Definitions.
615c.
Emergency Access Advisory Committee.
616.
Internet protocol-based relay services.
617.
Access to advanced communications services and equipment.
618.
Enforcement and recordkeeping obligations.
619.
Internet browsers built into telephones used with public mobile services.
620.
Relay services for deaf-blind individuals.
621.
Rulemaking on loud commercials required.
622.
Optional electronic labeling of communications equipment.
623.
Configuration of multi-line telephone systems for direct dialing of 9–1–1.

        

SUBCHAPTER I—GENERAL PROVISIONS

§151. Purposes of chapter; Federal Communications Commission created

For the purpose of regulating interstate and foreign commerce in communication by wire and radio so as to make available, so far as possible, to all the people of the United States, without discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, or sex, a rapid, efficient, Nation-wide, and world-wide wire and radio communication service with adequate facilities at reasonable charges, for the purpose of the national defense, for the purpose of promoting safety of life and property through the use of wire and radio communications, and for the purpose of securing a more effective execution of this policy by centralizing authority heretofore granted by law to several agencies and by granting additional authority with respect to interstate and foreign commerce in wire and radio communication, there is created a commission to be known as the "Federal Communications Commission", which shall be constituted as hereinafter provided, and which shall execute and enforce the provisions of this chapter.

(June 19, 1934, ch. 652, title I, §1, 48 Stat. 1064; May 20, 1937, ch. 229, §1, 50 Stat. 189; Pub. L. 104–104, title I, §104, Feb. 8, 1996, 110 Stat. 86.)

References in Text

This chapter, referred to in text, was in the original "this Act", meaning act June 19, 1934, ch. 652, 48 Stat. 1064, known as the Communications Act of 1934, which is classified principally to this chapter. For complete classification of this Act to the Code, see section 609 of this title and Tables.

Amendments

1996Pub. L. 104–104 inserted ", without discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, or sex," after "to all the people of the United States".

1937—Act May 20, 1937, inserted "for the purpose of promoting safety of life and property through the use of wire and radio communication".

Extension of Internet Tax Freedom Act

Pub. L. 114–113, div. E, title VI, §633, Dec. 18, 2015, 129 Stat. 2471, provided that: "Sections 1101(a) and 1104(a)(2)(A) of the Internet Tax Freedom Act (title XI of division C of Public Law 105–277; 47 U.S.C. 151 note) shall be applied by substituting 'October 1, 2016' for 'October 1, 2015'."

Moratorium on Internet Taxes

Pub. L. 105–277, div. C, title XI, Oct. 21, 1998, 112 Stat. 2681–719, as amended by Pub. L. 107–75, §2, Nov. 28, 2001, 115 Stat. 703; Pub. L. 108–435, §§2–6A, Dec. 3, 2004, 118 Stat. 2615–2618; Pub. L. 110–108, §§2–6, Oct. 31, 2007, 121 Stat. 1024–1026; Pub. L. 113–235, div. E, title VI, §624, Dec. 16, 2014, 128 Stat. 2377; Pub. L. 114–125, title IX, §922, Feb. 24, 2016, 130 Stat. 281, provided that:

"SEC. 1100. SHORT TITLE.

"This title may be cited as the 'Internet Tax Freedom Act'.

"SEC. 1101. MORATORIUM.

"(a) Moratorium.—No State or political subdivision thereof may impose any of the following taxes:

"(1) Taxes on Internet access.

"(2) Multiple or discriminatory taxes on electronic commerce.

"(b) Preservation of State and Local Taxing Authority.—Except as provided in this section, nothing in this title shall be construed to modify, impair, or supersede, or authorize the modification, impairment, or superseding of, any State or local law pertaining to taxation that is otherwise permissible by or under the Constitution of the United States or other Federal law and in effect on the date of enactment of this Act [Oct. 21, 1998].

"(c) Liabilities and Pending Cases.—Nothing in this title affects liability for taxes accrued and enforced before the date of enactment of this Act, nor does this title affect ongoing litigation relating to such taxes.

"(d) Exception to Moratorium.—

"(1) In general.—Subsection (a) shall also not apply in the case of any person or entity who knowingly and with knowledge of the character of the material, in interstate or foreign commerce by means of the World Wide Web, makes any communication for commercial purposes that is available to any minor and that includes any material that is harmful to minors unless such person or entity has restricted access by minors to material that is harmful to minors—

"(A) by requiring use of a credit card, debit account, adult access code, or adult personal identification number;

"(B) by accepting a digital certificate that verifies age; or

"(C) by any other reasonable measures that are feasible under available technology.

"(2) Scope of exception.—For purposes of paragraph (1), a person shall not be considered to [be] making a communication for commercial purposes of material to the extent that the person is—

"(A) a telecommunications carrier engaged in the provision of a telecommunications service;

"(B) a person engaged in the business of providing an Internet access service;

"(C) a person engaged in the business of providing an Internet information location tool; or

"(D) similarly engaged in the transmission, storage, retrieval, hosting, formatting, or translation (or any combination thereof) of a communication made by another person, without selection or alteration of the communication.

"(3) Definitions.—In this subsection:

"(A) By means of the world wide web.—The term 'by means of the World Wide Web' means by placement of material in a computer server-based file archive so that it is publicly accessible, over the Internet, using hypertext transfer protocol, file transfer protocol, or other similar protocols.

"(B) Commercial purposes; engaged in the business.—

"(i) Commercial purposes.—A person shall be considered to make a communication for commercial purposes only if such person is engaged in the business of making such communications.

"(ii) Engaged in the business.—The term 'engaged in the business' means that the person who makes a communication, or offers to make a communication, by means of the World Wide Web, that includes any material that is harmful to minors, devotes time, attention, or labor to such activities, as a regular course of such person's trade or business, with the objective of earning a profit as a result of such activities (although it is not necessary that the person make a profit or that the making or offering to make such communications be the person's sole or principal business or source of income). A person may be considered to be engaged in the business of making, by means of the World Wide Web, communications for commercial purposes that include material that is harmful to minors, only if the person knowingly causes the material that is harmful to minors to be posted on the World Wide Web or knowingly solicits such material to be posted on the World Wide Web.

"(C) Internet.—The term 'Internet' means collectively the myriad of computer and telecommunications facilities, including equipment and operating software, which comprise the interconnected world-wide network of networks that employ the Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol, or any predecessor or successor protocols to such protocol, to communicate information of all kinds by wire or radio.

"(D) Internet access service.—The term 'Internet access service' means a service that enables users to access content, information, electronic mail, or other services offered over the Internet and may also include access to proprietary content, information, and other services as part of a package of services offered to consumers. The term 'Internet access service' does not include telecommunications services, except to the extent such services are purchased, used, or sold by a provider of Internet access to provide Internet access.

"(E) Internet information location tool.—The term 'Internet information location tool' means a service that refers or links users to an online location on the World Wide Web. Such term includes directories, indices, references, pointers, and hypertext links.

"(F) Material that is harmful to minors.—The term 'material that is harmful to minors' means any communication, picture, image, graphic image file, article, recording, writing, or other matter of any kind that is obscene or that—

"(i) the average person, applying contemporary community standards, would find, taking the material as a whole and with respect to minors, is designed to appeal to, or is designed to pander to, the prurient interest;

"(ii) depicts, describes, or represents, in a manner patently offensive with respect to minors, an actual or simulated sexual act or sexual contact, an actual or simulated normal or perverted sexual act, or a lewd exhibition of the genitals or post-pubescent female breast; and

"(iii) taken as a whole, lacks serious literary, artistic, political, or scientific value for minors.

"(G) Minor.—The term 'minor' means any person under 17 years of age.

"(H) Telecommunications carrier; telecommunications service.—The terms 'telecommunications carrier' and 'telecommunications service' have the meanings given such terms in section 3 of the Communications Act of 1934 (47 U.S.C. 153).

"(e) Additional Exception to Moratorium.—

"(1) In general.—Subsection (a) shall also not apply with respect to an Internet access provider, unless, at the time of entering into an agreement with a customer for the provision of Internet access services, such provider offers such customer (either for a fee or at no charge) screening software that is designed to permit the customer to limit access to material on the Internet that is harmful to minors.

"(2) Definitions.—In this subsection:

"(A) Internet access provider.—The term 'Internet access provider' means a person engaged in the business of providing a computer and communications facility through which a customer may obtain access to the Internet, but does not include a common carrier to the extent that it provides only telecommunications services.

"(B) Internet access services.—The term 'Internet access services' means the provision of computer and communications services through which a customer using a computer and a modem or other communications device may obtain access to the Internet, but does not include telecommunications services provided by a common carrier.

"(C) Screening software.—The term 'screening software' means software that is designed to permit a person to limit access to material on the Internet that is harmful to minors.

"(3) Applicability.—Paragraph (1) shall apply to agreements for the provision of Internet access services entered into on or after the date that is 6 months after the date of enactment of this Act [Oct. 21, 1998].

"SEC. 1102. ADVISORY COMMISSION ON ELECTRONIC COMMERCE.

"(a) Establishment of Commission.—There is established a commission to be known as the Advisory Commission on Electronic Commerce (in this title referred to as the 'Commission'). The Commission shall—

"(1) be composed of 19 members appointed in accordance with subsection (b), including the chairperson who shall be selected by the members of the Commission from among themselves; and

"(2) conduct its business in accordance with the provisions of this title.

"(b) Membership.—

"(1) In general.—The Commissioners shall serve for the life of the Commission. The membership of the Commission shall be as follows:

"(A) 3 representatives from the Federal Government, comprised of the Secretary of Commerce, the Secretary of the Treasury, and the United States Trade Representative (or their respective delegates).

"(B) 8 representatives from State and local governments (one such representative shall be from a State or local government that does not impose a sales tax and one representative shall be from a State that does not impose an income tax).

"(C) 8 representatives of the electronic commerce industry (including small business), telecommunications carriers, local retail businesses, and consumer groups, comprised of—

"(i) 5 individuals appointed by the Majority Leader of the Senate;

"(ii) 3 individuals appointed by the Minority Leader of the Senate;

"(iii) 5 individuals appointed by the Speaker of the House of Representatives; and

"(iv) 3 individuals appointed by the Minority Leader of the House of Representatives.

"(2) Appointments.—Appointments to the Commission shall be made not later than 45 days after the date of the enactment of this Act [Oct. 21, 1998]. The chairperson shall be selected not later than 60 days after the date of the enactment of this Act.

"(3) Vacancies.—Any vacancy in the Commission shall not affect its powers, but shall be filled in the same manner as the original appointment.

"(c) Acceptance of Gifts and Grants.—The Commission may accept, use, and dispose of gifts or grants of services or property, both real and personal, for purposes of aiding or facilitating the work of the Commission. Gifts or grants not used at the expiration of the Commission shall be returned to the donor or grantor.

"(d) Other Resources.—The Commission shall have reasonable access to materials, resources, data, and other information from the Department of Justice, the Department of Commerce, the Department of State, the Department of the Treasury, and the Office of the United States Trade Representative. The Commission shall also have reasonable access to use the facilities of any such Department or Office for purposes of conducting meetings.

"(e) Sunset.—The Commission shall terminate 18 months after the date of the enactment of this Act [Oct. 21, 1998].

"(f) Rules of the Commission.—

"(1) Quorum.—Nine members of the Commission shall constitute a quorum for conducting the business of the Commission.

"(2) Meetings.—Any meetings held by the Commission shall be duly noticed at least 14 days in advance and shall be open to the public.

"(3) Opportunities to testify.—The Commission shall provide opportunities for representatives of the general public, taxpayer groups, consumer groups, and State and local government officials to testify.

"(4) Additional rules.—The Commission may adopt other rules as needed.

"(g) Duties of the Commission.—

"(1) In general.—The Commission shall conduct a thorough study of Federal, State and local, and international taxation and tariff treatment of transactions using the Internet and Internet access and other comparable intrastate, interstate or international sales activities.

"(2) Issues to be studied.—The Commission may include in the study under subsection (a)—

"(A) an examination of—

"(i) barriers imposed in foreign markets on United States providers of property, goods, services, or information engaged in electronic commerce and on United States providers of telecommunications services; and

"(ii) how the imposition of such barriers will affect United States consumers, the competitiveness of United States citizens providing property, goods, services, or information in foreign markets, and the growth and maturing of the Internet;

"(B) an examination of the collection and administration of consumption taxes on electronic commerce in other countries and the United States, and the impact of such collection on the global economy, including an examination of the relationship between the collection and administration of such taxes when the transaction uses the Internet and when it does not;

"(C) an examination of the impact of the Internet and Internet access (particularly voice transmission) on the revenue base for taxes imposed under section 4251 of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 [26 U.S.C. 4251];

"(D) an examination of model State legislation that—

"(i) would provide uniform definitions of categories of property, goods, service, or information subject to or exempt from sales and use taxes; and

"(ii) would ensure that Internet access services, online services, and communications and transactions using the Internet, Internet access service, or online services would be treated in a tax and technologically neutral manner relative to other forms of remote sales;

"(E) an examination of the effects of taxation, including the absence of taxation, on all interstate sales transactions, including transactions using the Internet, on retail businesses and on State and local governments, which examination may include a review of the efforts of State and local governments to collect sales and use taxes owed on in-State purchases from out-of-State sellers; and

"(F) the examination of ways to simplify Federal and State and local taxes imposed on the provision of telecommunications services.

"(3) Effect on the communications act of 1934.—Nothing in this section shall include an examination of any fees or charges imposed by the Federal Communications Commission or States related to—

"(A) obligations under the Communications Act of 1934 (47 U.S.C. 151 et seq.); or

"(B) the implementation of the Telecommunications Act of 1996 [Pub. L. 104–104, see Short Title of 1996 Amendment note set out under section 609 of this title] (or of amendments made by that Act).

"(h) National Tax Association Communications and Electronic Commerce Tax Project.—The Commission shall, to the extent possible, ensure that its work does not undermine the efforts of the National Tax Association Communications and Electronic Commerce Tax Project.

"SEC. 1103. REPORT.

"Not later than 18 months after the date of the enactment of this Act [Oct. 21, 1998], the Commission shall transmit to Congress for its consideration a report reflecting the results, including such legislative recommendations as required to address the findings of the Commission's study under this title. Any recommendation agreed to by the Commission shall be tax and technologically neutral and apply to all forms of remote commerce. No finding or recommendation shall be included in the report unless agreed to by at least two-thirds of the members of the Commission serving at the time the finding or recommendation is made.

"SEC. 1104. GRANDFATHERING OF STATES THAT TAX INTERNET ACCESS.

"(a) Pre-October 1998 Taxes.—

"(1) In general.—Section 1101(a) does not apply to a tax on Internet access that was generally imposed and actually enforced prior to October 1, 1998, if, before that date—

"(A) the tax was authorized by statute; and

"(B) either—

"(i) a provider of Internet access services had a reasonable opportunity to know, by virtue of a rule or other public proclamation made by the appropriate administrative agency of the State or political subdivision thereof, that such agency has interpreted and applied such tax to Internet access services; or

"(ii) a State or political subdivision thereof generally collected such tax on charges for Internet access.

"(2) Termination.—

"(A) In general.—Except as provided in subparagraph (B), this subsection shall not apply after June 30, 2020.

"(B) State telecommunications service tax.—

"(i) Date for termination.—This subsection shall not apply after November 1, 2006, with respect to a State telecommunications service tax described in clause (ii).

"(ii) Description of tax.—A State telecommunications service tax referred to in subclause (i) is a State tax—

     "(I) enacted by State law on or after October 1, 1991, and imposing a tax on telecommunications service; and

     "(II) applied to Internet access through administrative code or regulation issued on or after December 1, 2002.

"(3) Exception.—Paragraphs (1) and (2) shall not apply to any State that has, more than 24 months prior to the date of enactment of this paragraph [Oct. 31, 2007], enacted legislation to repeal the State's taxes on Internet access or issued a rule or other proclamation made by the appropriate agency of the State that such State agency has decided to no longer apply such tax to Internet access.

"(b) Pre-November 2003 Taxes.—

"(1) In general.—Section 1101(a) does not apply to a tax on Internet access that was generally imposed and actually enforced as of November 1, 2003, if, as of that date, the tax was authorized by statute and—

"(A) a provider of Internet access services had a reasonable opportunity to know by virtue of a public rule or other public proclamation made by the appropriate administrative agency of the State or political subdivision thereof, that such agency has interpreted and applied such tax to Internet access services; and

"(B) a State or political subdivision thereof generally collected such tax on charges for Internet access.

"(2) Termination.—This subsection shall not apply after November 1, 2005.

"(c) Application of Definition.—

"(1) In general.—Effective as of November 1, 2003—

"(A) for purposes of subsection (a), the term 'Internet access' shall have the meaning given such term by section 1104(5) of this Act, as enacted on October 21, 1998; and

"(B) for purposes of subsection (b), the term 'Internet access' shall have the meaning given such term by section 1104(5) of this Act as enacted on October 21, 1998, and amended by section 2(c) of the Internet Tax Nondiscrimination Act (Public Law 108–435).

"(2) Exceptions.—Paragraph (1) shall not apply until June 30, 2008, to a tax on Internet access that is—

"(A) generally imposed and actually enforced on telecommunications service purchased, used, or sold by a provider of Internet access, but only if the appropriate administrative agency of a State or political subdivision thereof issued a public ruling prior to July 1, 2007, that applied such tax to such service in a manner that is inconsistent with paragraph (1); or

"(B) the subject of litigation instituted in a judicial court of competent jurisdiction prior to July 1, 2007, in which a State or political subdivision is seeking to enforce, in a manner that is inconsistent with paragraph (1), such tax on telecommunications service purchased, used, or sold by a provider of Internet access.

"(3) No inference.—No inference of legislative construction shall be drawn from this subsection or the amendments to section 1105(5) made by the Internet Tax Freedom Act Amendments Act of 2007 [Pub. L. 110–108] for any period prior to June 30, 2008, with respect to any tax subject to the exceptions described in subparagraphs (A) and (B) of paragraph (2).

"SEC. 1105. DEFINITIONS.

"For the purposes of this title:

"(1) Bit tax.—The term 'bit tax' means any tax on electronic commerce expressly imposed on or measured by the volume of digital information transmitted electronically, or the volume of digital information per unit of time transmitted electronically, but does not include taxes imposed on the provision of telecommunications.

"(2) Discriminatory tax.—The term 'discriminatory tax' means—

"(A) any tax imposed by a State or political subdivision thereof on electronic commerce that—

"(i) is not generally imposed and legally collectible by such State or such political subdivision on transactions involving similar property, goods, services, or information accomplished through other means;

"(ii) is not generally imposed and legally collectible at the same rate by such State or such political subdivision on transactions involving similar property, goods, services, or information accomplished through other means, unless the rate is lower as part of a phase-out of the tax over not more than a 5-year period;

"(iii) imposes an obligation to collect or pay the tax on a different person or entity than in the case of transactions involving similar property, goods, services, or information accomplished through other means;

"(iv) establishes a classification of Internet access service providers or online service providers for purposes of establishing a higher tax rate to be imposed on such providers than the tax rate generally applied to providers of similar information services delivered through other means; or

"(B) any tax imposed by a State or political subdivision thereof, if—

"(i) the sole ability to access a site on a remote seller's out-of-State computer server is considered a factor in determining a remote seller's tax collection obligation; or

"(ii) a provider of Internet access service or online services is deemed to be the agent of a remote seller for determining tax collection obligations solely as a result of—

     "(I) the display of a remote seller's information or content on the out-of-State computer server of a provider of Internet access service or online services; or

     "(II) the processing of orders through the out-of-State computer server of a provider of Internet access service or online services.

"(3) Electronic commerce.—The term 'electronic commerce' means any transaction conducted over the Internet or through Internet access, comprising the sale, lease, license, offer, or delivery of property, goods, services, or information, whether or not for consideration, and includes the provision of Internet access.

"(4) Internet.—The term 'Internet' means collectively the myriad of computer and telecommunications facilities, including equipment and operating software, which comprise the interconnected world-wide network of networks that employ the Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol, or any predecessor or successor protocols to such protocol, to communicate information of all kinds by wire or radio.

"(5) Internet access.—The term 'Internet access'—

"(A) means a service that enables users to connect to the Internet to access content, information, or other services offered over the Internet;

"(B) includes the purchase, use or sale of telecommunications by a provider of a service described in subparagraph (A) to the extent such telecommunications are purchased, used or sold—

"(i) to provide such service; or

"(ii) to otherwise enable users to access content, information or other services offered over the Internet;

"(C) includes services that are incidental to the provision of the service described in subparagraph (A) when furnished to users as part of such service, such as a home page, electronic mail and instant messaging (including voice- and video-capable electronic mail and instant messaging), video clips, and personal electronic storage capacity;

"(D) does not include voice, audio or video programming, or other products and services (except services described in subparagraph (A), (B), (C), or (E)) that utilize Internet protocol or any successor protocol and for which there is a charge, regardless of whether such charge is separately stated or aggregated with the charge for services described in subparagraph (A), (B), (C), or (E); and

"(E) includes a homepage, electronic mail and instant messaging (including voice- and video-capable electronic mail and instant messaging), video clips, and personal electronic storage capacity, that are provided independently or not packaged with Internet access.

"(6) Multiple tax.—

"(A) In general.—The term 'multiple tax' means any tax that is imposed by one State or political subdivision thereof on the same or essentially the same electronic commerce that is also subject to another tax imposed by another State or political subdivision thereof (whether or not at the same rate or on the same basis), without a credit (for example, a resale exemption certificate) for taxes paid in other jurisdictions.

"(B) Exception.—Such term shall not include a sales or use tax imposed by a State and 1 or more political subdivisions thereof on the same electronic commerce or a tax on persons engaged in electronic commerce which also may have been subject to a sales or use tax thereon.

"(C) Sales or use tax.—For purposes of subparagraph (B), the term 'sales or use tax' means a tax that is imposed on or incident to the sale, purchase, storage, consumption, distribution, or other use of tangible personal property or services as may be defined by laws imposing such tax and which is measured by the amount of the sales price or other charge for such property or service.

"(7) State.—The term 'State' means any of the several States, the District of Columbia, or any commonwealth, territory, or possession of the United States.

"(8) Tax.—

"(A) In general.—The term 'tax' means—

"(i) any charge imposed by any governmental entity for the purpose of generating revenues for governmental purposes, and is not a fee imposed for a specific privilege, service, or benefit conferred; or

"(ii) the imposition on a seller of an obligation to collect and to remit to a governmental entity any sales or use tax imposed on a buyer by a governmental entity.

"(B) Exception.—Such term does not include any franchise fee or similar fee imposed by a State or local franchising authority, pursuant to section 622 or 653 of the Communications Act of 1934 (47 U.S.C. 542, 573), or any other fee related to obligations or telecommunications carriers under the Communications Act of 1934 (47 U.S.C. 151 et seq.).

"(9) Telecommunications.—The term 'telecommunications' means 'telecommunications' as such term is defined in section 3(43) of the Communications Act of 1934 (47 U.S.C. 153(43) [now 153(50)]) and 'telecommunications service' as such term is defined in section 3(46) of such Act (47 U.S.C. 153(46) [now 153(53)]), and includes communications services (as defined in section 4251 of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 (26 U.S.C. 4251)).

"(10) Tax on internet access.—

"(A) In general.—The term 'tax on Internet access' means a tax on Internet access, regardless of whether such tax is imposed on a provider of Internet access or a buyer of Internet access and regardless of the terminology used to describe the tax.

"(B) General exception.—The term 'tax on Internet access' does not include a tax levied upon or measured by net income, capital stock, net worth, or property value.

"(C) Specific exception.—

"(i) Specified taxes.—Effective November 1, 2007, the term 'tax on Internet access' also does not include a State tax expressly levied on commercial activity, modified gross receipts, taxable margin, or gross income of the business, by a State law specifically using one of the foregoing terms, that—

     "(I) was enacted after June 20, 2005, and before November 1, 2007 (or, in the case of a State business and occupation tax, was enacted after January 1, 1932, and before January 1, 1936);

     "(II) replaced, in whole or in part, a modified value-added tax or a tax levied upon or measured by net income, capital stock, or net worth (or, is a State business and occupation tax that was enacted after January 1, 1932 and before January 1, 1936);

     "(III) is imposed on a broad range of business activity; and

     "(IV) is not discriminatory in its application to providers of communication services, Internet access, or telecommunications.

"(ii) Modifications.—Nothing in this subparagraph shall be construed as a limitation on a State's ability to make modifications to a tax covered by clause (i) of this subparagraph after November 1, 2007, as long as the modifications do not substantially narrow the range of business activities on which the tax is imposed or otherwise disqualify the tax under clause (i).

"(iii) No inference.—No inference of legislative construction shall be drawn from this subparagraph regarding the application of subparagraph (A) or (B) to any tax described in clause (i) for periods prior to November 1, 2007.

"SEC. 1106. ACCOUNTING RULE.

"(a) In General.—If charges for Internet access are aggregated with and not separately stated from charges for telecommunications or other charges that are subject to taxation, then the charges for Internet access may be subject to taxation unless the Internet access provider can reasonably identify the charges for Internet access from its books and records kept in the regular course of business.

"(b) Definitions.—In this section:

"(1) Charges for internet access.—The term 'charges for Internet access' means all charges for Internet access as defined in section 1105(5).

"(2) Charges for telecommunications.—The term 'charges for telecommunications' means all charges for telecommunications, except to the extent such telecommunications are purchased, used, or sold by a provider of Internet access to provide Internet access or to otherwise enable users to access content, information or other services offered over the Internet.

"SEC. 1107. EFFECT ON OTHER LAWS.

"(a) Universal Service.—Nothing in this Act [probably means "this title"] shall prevent the imposition or collection of any fees or charges used to preserve and advance Federal universal service or similar State programs—

"(1) authorized by section 254 of the Communications Act of 1934 (47 U.S.C. 254); or

"(2) in effect on February 8, 1996.

"(b) 911 and E–911 Services.—Nothing in this Act [probably means "this title"] shall prevent the imposition or collection, on a service used for access to 911 or E–911 services, of any fee or charge specifically designated or presented as dedicated by a State or political subdivision thereof for the support of 911 or E–911 services if no portion of the revenue derived from such fee or charge is obligated or expended for any purpose other than support of 911 or E–911 services.

"(c) Non-Tax Regulatory Proceedings.—Nothing in this Act [probably means "this title"] shall be construed to affect any Federal or State regulatory proceeding that is not related to taxation.

"[SEC. 1108. Repealed. Pub. L. 110–108, §5(b), Oct. 31, 2007, 121 Stat. 1026]

"SEC. 1109. EXCEPTION FOR TEXAS MUNICIPAL ACCESS LINE FEE.

"Nothing in this Act [probably means "this title"] shall prohibit Texas or a political subdivision thereof from imposing or collecting the Texas municipal access line fee pursuant to Texas Local Govt. Code Ann. ch. 283 (Vernon 2005) and the definition of access line as determined by the Public Utility Commission of Texas in its 'Order Adopting Amendments to Section 26.465 As Approved At The February 13, 2003 Public Hearing', issued March 5, 2003, in Project No. 26412."

[Pub. L. 110–108, §7, Oct. 31, 2007, 121 Stat. 1027, provided that: "This Act [enacting provisions set out as a note under section 609 of this title and amending title XI of div. C of Pub. L. 105–277, set out above], and the amendments made by this Act, shall take effect on November 1, 2007, and shall apply with respect to taxes in effect as of such date or thereafter enacted, except as provided in section 1104 of the Internet Tax Freedom Act [title XI of div. C of Pub. L. 105–277] (47 U.S.C. 151 note)."]

[Pub. L. 108–435, §8, Dec. 3, 2004, 118 Stat. 2619, provided that: "The amendments made by this Act [amending title XI of div. C of Pub. L. 105–277, set out above] take effect on November 1, 2003."]

Stylistic Consistency

Pub. L. 104–104, title I, §101(c), Feb. 8, 1996, 110 Stat. 79, provided that: "The Act [Communications Act of 1934 (47 U.S.C. 151 et seq.)] is amended so that—

"(1) the designation and heading of each title of the Act shall be in the form and typeface of the designation and heading of this title of this Act [110 Stat. 61]; and

"(2) the designation and heading of each part of each title of the Act shall be in the form and typeface of the designation and heading of part I of title II of the Act [110 Stat. 61], as amended by subsection (a)."

Study of Telecommunications and Information Goals

Pub. L. 97–259, title II, §202, Sept. 13, 1982, 96 Stat. 1099, provided that:

"(a) The National Telecommunications and Information Administration shall conduct a comprehensive study of the long-range international telecommunications and information goals of the United States, the specific international telecommunications and information policies necessary to promote those goals and the strategies that will ensure that the United States achieves them. The Administration shall further conduct a review of the structures, procedures, and mechanisms which are utilized by the United States to develop international telecommunications and information policy.

"(b) In any study or review conducted pursuant to this section, the National Telecommunications and Information Administration shall not make public information regarding usage or traffic patterns which would damage United States commercial interests. Any such study or review shall be limited to international telecommunications policies or to domestic telecommunications issues which directly affect such policies."

Commission on Governmental Use of International Telecommunications

Act July 29, 1954, ch. 647, 68 Stat. 587, established the Commission on Governmental Use of International Telecommunications to examine, study and report on the objectives, operations, and effectiveness of information programs with respect to the prompt development of techniques, methods, and programs for greatly expanded and far more effective operations in this vital area of foreign policy through the use of foreign telecommunications. The Commission was required to make a report of its findings and recommendations on or before Dec. 31, 1954, and the Commission ceased to exist 90 days after submission of its report to the Congress.

Communication Privileges to Participants in World Telecommunication Conferences

Act May 13, 1947, ch. 51, 61 Stat. 83, provided that nothing in this chapter, or in any other provision of law should be construed to prohibit United States communication common carriers from rendering free communication services to official participants in the world telecommunications conferences which were held in the United States in 1947.

Executive Order No. 10460

Ex. Ord. No. 10460, eff. June 18, 1953, 18 F.R. 3513, as amended by Ex. Ord. No. 10773, eff. July 1, 1958, 23 F.R. 5061; Ex. Ord. No. 10782, eff. Sept. 8, 1958, 23 F.R. 6971, which related to the performance of telecommunication functions by Director of the Office of Civil and Defense Mobilization, was revoked by section 4 of Ex. Ord. No. 10995, eff. Feb. 16, 1962, 27 F.R. 1519.

§152. Application of chapter

(a) The provisions of this chapter shall apply to all interstate and foreign communication by wire or radio and all interstate and foreign transmission of energy by radio, which originates and/or is received within the United States, and to all persons engaged within the United States in such communication or such transmission of energy by radio, and to the licensing and regulating of all radio stations as hereinafter provided; but it shall not apply to persons engaged in wire or radio communication or transmission in the Canal Zone, or to wire or radio communication or transmission wholly within the Canal Zone. The provisions of this chapter shall apply with respect to cable service, to all persons engaged within the United States in providing such service, and to the facilities of cable operators which relate to such service, as provided in subchapter V–A.

(b) Except as provided in sections 223 through 227 of this title, inclusive, and section 332 of this title, and subject to the provisions of section 301 of this title and subchapter V–A, nothing in this chapter shall be construed to apply or to give the Commission jurisdiction with respect to (1) charges, classifications, practices, services, facilities, or regulations for or in connection with intrastate communication service by wire or radio of any carrier, or (2) any carrier engaged in interstate or foreign communication solely through physical connection with the facilities of another carrier not directly or indirectly controlling or controlled by, or under direct or indirect common control with such carrier, or (3) any carrier engaged in interstate or foreign communication solely through connection by radio, or by wire and radio, with facilities, located in an adjoining State or in Canada or Mexico (where they adjoin the State in which the carrier is doing business), of another carrier not directly or indirectly controlling or controlled by, or under direct or indirect common control with such carrier, or (4) any carrier to which clause (2) or clause (3) of this subsection would be applicable except for furnishing interstate mobile radio communication service or radio communication service to mobile stations on land vehicles in Canada or Mexico; except that sections 201 to 205 of this title shall, except as otherwise provided therein, apply to carriers described in clauses (2), (3), and (4) of this subsection.

(June 19, 1934, ch. 652, title I, §2, 48 Stat. 1064; Proc. No. 2695, eff. July 4, 1946, 11 F.R. 7517, 60 Stat. 1352; Apr. 27, 1954, ch. 175, §1, 68 Stat. 63; Pub. L. 95–234, §5, Feb. 21, 1978, 92 Stat. 35; Pub. L. 98–549, §3(a), Oct. 30, 1984, 98 Stat. 2801; Pub. L. 101–166, title V, §521(2), Nov. 21, 1989, 103 Stat. 1193; Pub. L. 101–336, title IV, §401(b)(1), July 26, 1990, 104 Stat. 369; Pub. L. 102–243, §3(b), Dec. 20, 1991, 105 Stat. 2401; Pub. L. 103–66, title VI, §6002(b)(2)(B)(i), Aug. 10, 1993, 107 Stat. 396.)

References in Text

This chapter, referred to in text, was in the original "this Act", meaning act June 19, 1934, ch. 652, 48 Stat. 1064, known as the Communications Act of 1934, which is classified principally to this chapter. For complete classification of this Act to the Code, see section 609 of this title and Tables.

For definition of Canal Zone, referred to in subsec. (a), see section 3602(b) of Title 22, Foreign Relations and Intercourse.

Codification

Words "the Philippine Islands or" were omitted from this section on authority of Proc. No. 2695, issued pursuant to section 1394 of Title 22, Foreign Relations and Intercourse, which recognized the independence of the Philippine Islands as of July 4, 1946. Proc. No. 2695 is set out under section 1394 of Title 22.

Amendments

1993—Subsec. (b). Pub. L. 103–66 inserted "and section 332 of this title," after "inclusive,".

1991—Subsec. (b). Pub. L. 102–243 substituted "Except as provided in sections 223 through 227 of this title, inclusive," for "Except as provided in section 223 or 224 of this title".

1990—Subsec. (b). Pub. L. 101–336, which directed substitution of "sections 224 and 225" for "section 224", could not be executed because of the intervening amendment by Pub. L. 101–166 which substituted "section 223 or 224" for "section 224". See 1989 Amendment note below.

1989—Subsec. (b). Pub. L. 101–166 substituted "section 223 or 224" for "section 224".

1984—Subsec. (a). Pub. L. 98–549, §3(a)(1), inserted provision making this chapter applicable with respect to cable service, to all persons engaged within the United States in providing such service, and to the facilities of cable operators which relate to such service, as provided in subchapter V–A of this chapter.

Subsec. (b). Pub. L. 98–549, §3(a)(2), inserted "and subchapter V–A" after "section 301 of this title".

1978—Subsec. (b). Pub. L. 95–234 substituted "Except as provided in section 224 of this title and subject" for "Subject".

1954—Subsec. (b). Act Apr. 27, 1954, made it clear that intrastate communication service, whether by "wire or radio", would not be subject to the Commission's jurisdiction over charges, classifications, etc., and added cls. (3) and (4).

Effective Date of 1989 Amendment

Pub. L. 101–166, title V, §521(3), Nov. 21, 1989, 103 Stat. 1194, provided that: "The amendments made by this subsection [probably should be "section", which amended this section and section 223 of this title] shall take effect 120 days after the date of enactment of this Act [Nov. 21, 1989]."

Effective Date of 1984 Amendment

Amendment by Pub. L. 98–549 effective 60 days after Oct. 30, 1984, except where otherwise expressly provided, see section 9(a) of Pub. L. 98–549, set out as a note under section 521 of this title.

Effective Date of 1978 Amendment

Pub. L. 95–234, §7, Feb. 21, 1978, 92 Stat. 36, provided that: "The amendments made by this Act [enacting section 224 of this title, amending this section and sections 503 and 504 of this title, repealing sections 510 of this title, and enacting provisions set out as a note under section 609 of this title] shall take effect on the thirtieth day after the date of enactment of this Act [Feb. 21, 1978]; except that the provisions of sections 503(b) and 510 of the Communications Act of 1934 [sections 503(b) and 510 of this title], as in effect on such date of enactment, shall continue to constitute the applicable law with the respect to any act or omission which occurs prior to such thirtieth day."

Applicability of Consent Decrees and Other Law

Pub. L. 104–104, title VI, §601, Feb. 8, 1996, 110 Stat. 143, provided that:

"(a) Applicability of Amendments to Future Conduct.—

"(1) AT&T consent decree.—Any conduct or activity that was, before the date of enactment of this Act [Feb. 8, 1996], subject to any restriction or obligation imposed by the AT&T Consent Decree shall, on and after such date, be subject to the restrictions and obligations imposed by the Communications Act of 1934 [47 U.S.C. 151 et seq.] as amended by this Act and shall not be subject to the restrictions and the obligations imposed by such Consent Decree.

"(2) GTE consent decree.—Any conduct or activity that was, before the date of enactment of this Act, subject to any restriction or obligation imposed by the GTE Consent Decree shall, on and after such date, be subject to the restrictions and obligations imposed by the Communications Act of 1934 as amended by this Act and shall not be subject to the restrictions and the obligations imposed by such Consent Decree.

"(3) McCaw consent decree.—Any conduct or activity that was, before the date of enactment of this Act, subject to any restriction or obligation imposed by the McCaw Consent Decree shall, on and after such date, be subject to the restrictions and obligations imposed by the Communications Act of 1934 as amended by this Act and subsection (d) of this section and shall not be subject to the restrictions and the obligations imposed by such Consent Decree.

"(b) Antitrust Laws.—

"(1) Savings clause.—Except as provided in paragraphs (2) and (3), nothing in this Act [see Short Title of 1996 Amendment note set out under section 609 of this title] or the amendments made by this Act shall be construed to modify, impair, or supersede the applicability of any of the antitrust laws.

"(2) Repeal.—[Amended section 221 of this title.]

"(3) Clayton act.—[Amended section 18 of Title 15, Commerce and Trade.]

"(c) Federal, State, and Local Law.—

"(1) No implied effect.—This Act and the amendments made by this Act shall not be construed to modify, impair, or supersede Federal, State, or local law unless expressly so provided in such Act or amendments.

"(2) State tax savings provision.—Notwithstanding paragraph (1), nothing in this Act or the amendments made by this Act shall be construed to modify, impair, or supersede, or authorize the modification, impairment, or supersession of, any State or local law pertaining to taxation, except as provided in sections 622 and 653(c) of the Communications Act of 1934 [47 U.S.C. 542, 573(c)] and section 602 of this Act [set out as a note below].

"(d) Commercial Mobile Service Joint Marketing.—Notwithstanding section 22.903 of the Commission's regulations (47 C.F.R. 22.903) or any other Commission regulation, a Bell operating company or any other company may, except as provided in sections 271(e)(1) and 272 of the Communications Act of 1934 [47 U.S.C. 271(e)(1), 272] as amended by this Act as they relate to wireline service, jointly market and sell commercial mobile services in conjunction with telephone exchange service, exchange access, intraLATA telecommunications service, interLATA telecommunications service, and information services.

"(e) Definitions.—As used in this section:

"(1) AT&T consent decree.—The term 'AT&T Consent Decree' means the order entered August 24, 1982, in the antitrust action styled United States v. Western Electric, Civil Action No. 82–0192, in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia, and includes any judgment or order with respect to such action entered on or after August 24, 1982.

"(2) GTE consent decree.—The term 'GTE Consent Decree' means the order entered December 21, 1984, as restated January 11, 1985, in the action styled United States v. GTE Corp., Civil Action No. 83–1298, in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia, and any judgment or order with respect to such action entered on or after December 21, 1984.

"(3) McCaw consent decree.—The term 'McCaw Consent Decree' means the proposed consent decree filed on July 15, 1994, in the antitrust action styled United States v. AT&T Corp. and McCaw Cellular Communications, Inc., Civil Action No. 94–01555, in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia. Such term includes any stipulation that the parties will abide by the terms of such proposed consent decree until it is entered and any order entering such proposed consent decree.

"(4) Antitrust laws.—The term 'antitrust laws' has the meaning given it in subsection (a) of the first section of the Clayton Act (15 U.S.C. 12(a)), except that such term includes the Act of June 19, 1936 (49 Stat. 1526; 15 U.S.C. 13 et seq.), commonly known as the Robinson-Patman Act, and section 5 of the Federal Trade Commission Act (15 U.S.C. 45) to the extent that such section 5 applies to unfair methods of competition."

Preemption of Local Taxation With Respect to Direct-to-Home Services

Pub. L. 104–104, title VI, §602, Feb. 8, 1996, 110 Stat. 144, provided that:

"(a) Preemption.—A provider of direct-to-home satellite service shall be exempt from the collection or remittance, or both, of any tax or fee imposed by any local taxing jurisdiction on direct-to-home satellite service.

"(b) Definitions.—For the purposes of this section—

"(1) Direct-to-home satellite service.—The term 'direct-to-home satellite service' means only programming transmitted or broadcast by satellite directly to the subscribers' premises without the use of ground receiving or distribution equipment, except at the subscribers' premises or in the uplink process to the satellite.

"(2) Provider of direct-to-home satellite service.—For purposes of this section, a 'provider of direct-to-home satellite service' means a person who transmits, broadcasts, sells, or distributes direct-to-home satellite service.

"(3) Local taxing jurisdiction.—The term 'local taxing jurisdiction' means any municipality, city, county, township, parish, transportation district, or assessment jurisdiction, or any other local jurisdiction in the territorial jurisdiction of the United States with the authority to impose a tax or fee, but does not include a State.

"(4) State.—The term 'State' means any of the several States, the District of Columbia, or any territory or possession of the United States.

"(5) Tax or fee.—The terms 'tax' and 'fee' mean any local sales tax, local use tax, local intangible tax, local income tax, business license tax, utility tax, privilege tax, gross receipts tax, excise tax, franchise fees, local telecommunications tax, or any other tax, license, or fee that is imposed for the privilege of doing business, regulating, or raising revenue for a local taxing jurisdiction.

"(c) Preservation of State Authority.—This section shall not be construed to prevent taxation of a provider of direct-to-home satellite service by a State or to prevent a local taxing jurisdiction from receiving revenue derived from a tax or fee imposed and collected by a State."

§153. Definitions

For the purposes of this chapter, unless the context otherwise requires—

(1) Advanced communications services

The term "advanced communications services" means—

(A) interconnected VoIP service;

(B) non-interconnected VoIP service;

(C) electronic messaging service; and

(D) interoperable video conferencing service.

(2) Affiliate

The term "affiliate" means a person that (directly or indirectly) owns or controls, is owned or controlled by, or is under common ownership or control with, another person. For purposes of this paragraph, the term "own" means to own an equity interest (or the equivalent thereof) of more than 10 percent.

(3) Amateur station

The term "amateur station" means a radio station operated by a duly authorized person interested in radio technique solely with a personal aim and without pecuniary interest.

(4) AT&T Consent Decree

The term "AT&T Consent Decree" means the order entered August 24, 1982, in the antitrust action styled United States v. Western Electric, Civil Action No. 82–0192, in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia, and includes any judgment or order with respect to such action entered on or after August 24, 1982.

(5) Bell operating company

The term "Bell operating company"—

(A) means any of the following companies: Bell Telephone Company of Nevada, Illinois Bell Telephone Company, Indiana Bell Telephone Company, Incorporated, Michigan Bell Telephone Company, New England Telephone and Telegraph Company, New Jersey Bell Telephone Company, New York Telephone Company, U S West Communications Company, South Central Bell Telephone Company, Southern Bell Telephone and Telegraph Company, Southwestern Bell Telephone Company, The Bell Telephone Company of Pennsylvania, The Chesapeake and Potomac Telephone Company, The Chesapeake and Potomac Telephone Company of Maryland, The Chesapeake and Potomac Telephone Company of Virginia, The Chesapeake and Potomac Telephone Company of West Virginia, The Diamond State Telephone Company, The Ohio Bell Telephone Company, The Pacific Telephone and Telegraph Company, or Wisconsin Telephone Company; and

(B) includes any successor or assign of any such company that provides wireline telephone exchange service; but

(C) does not include an affiliate of any such company, other than an affiliate described in subparagraph (A) or (B).

(6) Broadcast station

The term "broadcast station", "broadcasting station", or "radio broadcast station" means a radio station equipped to engage in broadcasting as herein defined.

(7) Broadcasting

The term "broadcasting" means the dissemination of radio communications intended to be received by the public, directly or by the intermediary of relay stations.

(8) Cable service

The term "cable service" has the meaning given such term in section 522 of this title.

(9) Cable system

The term "cable system" has the meaning given such term in section 522 of this title.

(10) Chain broadcasting

The term "chain broadcasting" means simultaneous broadcasting of an identical program by two or more connected stations.

(11) Common carrier

The term "common carrier" or "carrier" means any person engaged as a common carrier for hire, in interstate or foreign communication by wire or radio or interstate or foreign radio transmission of energy, except where reference is made to common carriers not subject to this chapter; but a person engaged in radio broadcasting shall not, insofar as such person is so engaged, be deemed a common carrier.

(12) Connecting carrier

The term "connecting carrier" means a carrier described in clauses (2), (3), or (4) of section 152(b) of this title.

(13) Construction permit

The term "construction permit" or "permit for construction" means that instrument of authorization required by this chapter or the rules and regulations of the Commission made pursuant to this chapter for the construction of a station, or the installation of apparatus, for the transmission of energy, or communications, or signals by radio, by whatever name the instrument may be designated by the Commission.

(14) Consumer generated media

The term "consumer generated media" means content created and made available by consumers to online websites and services on the Internet, including video, audio, and multimedia content.

(15) Corporation

The term "corporation" includes any corporation, joint-stock company, or association.

(16) Customer premises equipment

The term "customer premises equipment" means equipment employed on the premises of a person (other than a carrier) to originate, route, or terminate telecommunications.

(17) Dialing parity

The term "dialing parity" means that a person that is not an affiliate of a local exchange carrier is able to provide telecommunications services in such a manner that customers have the ability to route automatically, without the use of any access code, their telecommunications to the telecommunications services provider of the customer's designation from among 2 or more telecommunications services providers (including such local exchange carrier).

(18) Disability

The term "disability" has the meaning given such term under section 12102 of title 42.

(19) Electronic messaging service

The term "electronic messaging service" means a service that provides real-time or near real-time non-voice messages in text form between individuals over communications networks.

(20) Exchange access

The term "exchange access" means the offering of access to telephone exchange services or facilities for the purpose of the origination or termination of telephone toll services.

(21) Foreign communication

The term "foreign communication" or "foreign transmission" means communication or transmission from or to any place in the United States to or from a foreign country, or between a station in the United States and a mobile station located outside the United States.

(22) Great Lakes Agreement

The term "Great Lakes Agreement" means the Agreement for the Promotion of Safety on the Great Lakes by Means of Radio in force and the regulations referred to therein.

(23) Harbor

The term "harbor" or "port" means any place to which ships may resort for shelter or to load or unload passengers or goods, or to obtain fuel, water, or supplies. This term shall apply to such places whether proclaimed public or not and whether natural or artificial.

(24) Information service

The term "information service" means the offering of a capability for generating, acquiring, storing, transforming, processing, retrieving, utilizing, or making available information via telecommunications, and includes electronic publishing, but does not include any use of any such capability for the management, control, or operation of a telecommunications system or the management of a telecommunications service.

(25) Interconnected VoIP service

The term "interconnected VoIP service" has the meaning given such term under section 9.3 of title 47, Code of Federal Regulations, as such section may be amended from time to time.

(26) InterLATA service

The term "interLATA service" means telecommunications between a point located in a local access and transport area and a point located outside such area.

(27) Interoperable video conferencing service

The term "interoperable video conferencing service" means a service that provides real-time video communications, including audio, to enable users to share information of the user's choosing.

(28) Interstate communication

The term "interstate communication" or "interstate transmission" means communication or transmission (A) from any State, Territory, or possession of the United States (other than the Canal Zone), or the District of Columbia, to any other State, Territory, or possession of the United States (other than the Canal Zone), or the District of Columbia, (B) from or to the United States to or from the Canal Zone, insofar as such communication or transmission takes place within the United States, or (C) between points within the United States but through a foreign country; but shall not, with respect to the provisions of subchapter II of this chapter (other than section 223 of this title), include wire or radio communication between points in the same State, Territory, or possession of the United States, or the District of Columbia, through any place outside thereof, if such communication is regulated by a State commission.

(29) Land station

The term "land station" means a station, other than a mobile station, used for radio communication with mobile stations.

(30) Licensee

The term "licensee" means the holder of a radio station license granted or continued in force under authority of this chapter.

(31) Local access and transport area

The term "local access and transport area" or "LATA" means a contiguous geographic area—

(A) established before February 8, 1996, by a Bell operating company such that no exchange area includes points within more than 1 metropolitan statistical area, consolidated metropolitan statistical area, or State, except as expressly permitted under the AT&T Consent Decree; or

(B) established or modified by a Bell operating company after February 8, 1996, and approved by the Commission.

(32) Local exchange carrier

The term "local exchange carrier" means any person that is engaged in the provision of telephone exchange service or exchange access. Such term does not include a person insofar as such person is engaged in the provision of a commercial mobile service under section 332(c) of this title, except to the extent that the Commission finds that such service should be included in the definition of such term.

(33) Mobile service

The term "mobile service" means a radio communication service carried on between mobile stations or receivers and land stations, and by mobile stations communicating among themselves, and includes (A) both one-way and two-way radio communication services, (B) a mobile service which provides a regularly interacting group of base, mobile, portable, and associated control and relay stations (whether licensed on an individual, cooperative, or multiple basis) for private one-way or two-way land mobile radio communications by eligible users over designated areas of operation, and (C) any service for which a license is required in a personal communications service established pursuant to the proceeding entitled "Amendment to the Commission's Rules to Establish New Personal Communications Services" (GEN Docket No. 90–314; ET Docket No. 92–100), or any successor proceeding.

(34) Mobile station

The term "mobile station" means a radio-communication station capable of being moved and which ordinarily does move.

(35) Network element

The term "network element" means a facility or equipment used in the provision of a telecommunications service. Such term also includes features, functions, and capabilities that are provided by means of such facility or equipment, including subscriber numbers, databases, signaling systems, and information sufficient for billing and collection or used in the transmission, routing, or other provision of a telecommunications service.

(36) Non-interconnected VoIP service

The term "non-interconnected VoIP service"—

(A) means a service that—

(i) enables real-time voice communications that originate from or terminate to the user's location using Internet protocol or any successor protocol; and

(ii) requires Internet protocol compatible customer premises equipment; and


(B) does not include any service that is an interconnected VoIP service.

(37) Number portability

The term "number portability" means the ability of users of telecommunications services to retain, at the same location, existing telecommunications numbers without impairment of quality, reliability, or convenience when switching from one telecommunications carrier to another.

(38) Operator

(A) The term "operator" on a ship of the United States means, for the purpose of parts II and III of subchapter III of this chapter, a person holding a radio operator's license of the proper class as prescribed and issued by the Commission.

(B) "Operator" on a foreign ship means, for the purpose of part II of subchapter III of this chapter, a person holding a certificate as such of the proper class complying with the provisions of the radio regulations annexed to the International Telecommunication Convention in force, or complying with an agreement or treaty between the United States and the country in which the ship is registered.

(39) Person

The term "person" includes an individual, partnership, association, joint-stock company, trust, or corporation.

(40) Radio communication

The term "radio communication" or "communication by radio" means the transmission by radio of writing, signs, signals, pictures, and sounds of all kinds, including all instrumentalities, facilities, apparatus, and services (among other things, the receipt, forwarding, and delivery of communications) incidental to such transmission.

(41) Radio officer

(A) The term "radio officer" on a ship of the United States means, for the purpose of part II of subchapter III of this chapter, a person holding at least a first or second class radiotelegraph operator's license as prescribed and issued by the Commission. When such person is employed to operate a radiotelegraph station aboard a ship of the United States, he is also required to be licensed as a "radio officer" in accordance with chapter 71 of title 46.

(B) "Radio officer" on a foreign ship means, for the purpose of part II of subchapter III of this chapter, a person holding at least a first or second class radiotelegraph operator's certificate complying with the provisions of the radio regulations annexed to the International Telecommunication Convention in force.

(42) Radio station

The term "radio station" or "station" means a station equipped to engage in radio communication or radio transmission of energy.

(43) Radiotelegraph auto alarm

The term "radiotelegraph auto alarm" on a ship of the United States subject to the provisions of part II of subchapter III of this chapter means an automatic alarm receiving apparatus which responds to the radiotelegraph alarm signal and has been approved by the Commission. "Radiotelegraph auto alarm" on a foreign ship means an automatic alarm receiving apparatus which responds to the radiotelegraph alarm signal and has been approved by the government of the country in which the ship is registered: Provided, That the United States and the country in which the ship is registered are parties to the same treaty, convention, or agreement prescribing the requirements for such apparatus. Nothing in this chapter or in any other provision of law shall be construed to require the recognition of a radiotelegraph auto alarm as complying with part II of subchapter III of this chapter, on a foreign ship subject to part II of subchapter III of this chapter, where the country in which the ship is registered and the United States are not parties to the same treaty, convention, or agreement prescribing the requirements for such apparatus.

(44) Rural telephone company

The term "rural telephone company" means a local exchange carrier operating entity to the extent that such entity—

(A) provides common carrier service to any local exchange carrier study area that does not include either—

(i) any incorporated place of 10,000 inhabitants or more, or any part thereof, based on the most recently available population statistics of the Bureau of the Census; or

(ii) any territory, incorporated or unincorporated, included in an urbanized area, as defined by the Bureau of the Census as of August 10, 1993;


(B) provides telephone exchange service, including exchange access, to fewer than 50,000 access lines;

(C) provides telephone exchange service to any local exchange carrier study area with fewer than 100,000 access lines; or

(D) has less than 15 percent of its access lines in communities of more than 50,000 on February 8, 1996.

(45) Safety convention

The term "safety convention" means the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea in force and the regulations referred to therein.

(46) Ship

(A) The term "ship" or "vessel" includes every description of watercraft or other artificial contrivance, except aircraft, used or capable of being used as a means of transportation on water, whether or not it is actually afloat.

(B) A ship shall be considered a passenger ship if it carries or is licensed or certificated to carry more than twelve passengers.

(C) A cargo ship means any ship not a passenger ship.

(D) A passenger is any person carried on board a ship or vessel except (1) the officers and crew actually employed to man and operate the ship, (2) persons employed to carry on the business of the ship, and (3) persons on board a ship when they are carried, either because of the obligation laid upon the master to carry shipwrecked, distressed, or other persons in like or similar situations or by reason of any circumstance over which neither the master, the owner, nor the charterer (if any) has control.

(E) "Nuclear ship" means a ship provided with a nuclear powerplant.

(47) State

The term "State" includes the District of Columbia and the Territories and possessions.

(48) State commission

The term "State commission" means the commission, board, or official (by whatever name designated) which under the laws of any State has regulatory jurisdiction with respect to intrastate operations of carriers.

(49) Station license

The term "station license", "radio station license", or "license" means that instrument of authorization required by this chapter or the rules and regulations of the Commission made pursuant to this chapter, for the use or operation of apparatus for transmission of energy, or communications, or signals by radio, by whatever name the instrument may be designated by the Commission.

(50) Telecommunications

The term "telecommunications" means the transmission, between or among points specified by the user, of information of the user's choosing, without change in the form or content of the information as sent and received.

(51) Telecommunications carrier

The term "telecommunications carrier" means any provider of telecommunications services, except that such term does not include aggregators of telecommunications services (as defined in section 226 of this title). A telecommunications carrier shall be treated as a common carrier under this chapter only to the extent that it is engaged in providing telecommunications services, except that the Commission shall determine whether the provision of fixed and mobile satellite service shall be treated as common carriage.

(52) Telecommunications equipment

The term "telecommunications equipment" means equipment, other than customer premises equipment, used by a carrier to provide telecommunications services, and includes software integral to such equipment (including upgrades).

(53) Telecommunications service

The term "telecommunications service" means the offering of telecommunications for a fee directly to the public, or to such classes of users as to be effectively available directly to the public, regardless of the facilities used.

(54) Telephone exchange service

The term "telephone exchange service" means (A) service within a telephone exchange, or within a connected system of telephone exchanges within the same exchange area operated to furnish to subscribers intercommunicating service of the character ordinarily furnished by a single exchange, and which is covered by the exchange service charge, or (B) comparable service provided through a system of switches, transmission equipment, or other facilities (or combination thereof) by which a subscriber can originate and terminate a telecommunications service.

(55) Telephone toll service

The term "telephone toll service" means telephone service between stations in different exchange areas for which there is made a separate charge not included in contracts with subscribers for exchange service.

(56) Television service

(A) Analog television service

The term "analog television service" means television service provided pursuant to the transmission standards prescribed by the Commission in section 73.682(a) of its regulations (47 C.F.R. 73.682(a)).

(B) Digital television service

The term "digital television service" means television service provided pursuant to the transmission standards prescribed by the Commission in section 73.682(d) of its regulations (47 C.F.R. 73.682(d)).

(57) Transmission of energy by radio

The term "transmission of energy by radio" or "radio transmission of energy" includes both such transmission and all instrumentalities, facilities, and services incidental to such transmission.

(58) United States

The term "United States" means the several States and Territories, the District of Columbia, and the possessions of the United States, but does not include the Canal Zone.

(59) Wire communication

The term "wire communication" or "communication by wire" means the transmission of writing, signs, signals, pictures, and sounds of all kinds by aid of wire, cable, or other like connection between the points of origin and reception of such transmission, including all instrumentalities, facilities, apparatus, and services (among other things, the receipt, forwarding, and delivery of communications) incidental to such transmission.

(June 19, 1934, ch. 652, title I, §3, 48 Stat. 1065; May 20, 1937, ch. 229, §2, 50 Stat. 189; Proc. No. 2695, eff. July 4, 1946, 11 F.R. 7517, 60 Stat. 1352; July 16, 1952, ch. 879, §2, 66 Stat. 711; Apr. 27, 1954, ch. 175, §§2, 3, 68 Stat. 64; Aug. 13, 1954, ch. 729, §3, 68 Stat. 707; Aug. 13, 1954, ch. 735, §1, 68 Stat. 729; Aug. 6, 1956, ch. 973, §3, 70 Stat. 1049; Pub. L. 89–121, §1, Aug. 13, 1965, 79 Stat. 511; Pub. L. 90–299, §2, May 3, 1968, 82 Stat. 112; Pub. L. 97–259, title I, §120(b), Sept. 13, 1982, 96 Stat. 1097; Pub. L. 103–66, title VI, §6002(b)(2)(B)(ii), Aug. 10, 1993, 107 Stat. 396; Pub. L. 104–104, §3(a), (c), Feb. 8, 1996, 110 Stat. 58, 61; Pub. L. 105–33, title III, §3001(b), Aug. 5, 1997, 111 Stat. 258; Pub. L. 111–260, title I, §101, Oct. 8, 2010, 124 Stat. 2752.)

References in Text

This chapter, referred to in text, was in the original "this Act", meaning act June 19, 1934, ch. 652, 48 Stat. 1064, known as the Communications Act of 1934, which is classified principally to this chapter. For complete classification of this Act to the Code, see section 609 of this title and Tables.

For definition of Canal Zone, referred to in pars. (28) and (58), see section 3602(b) of Title 22, Foreign Relations and Intercourse.

Part II of subchapter III of this chapter, referred to in pars. (38), (41), and (43), is classified to section 351 et seq. of this title. Part III of subchapter III of this chapter, referred to in par. (38)(A), is classified to section 381 et seq. of this title.

Codification

In par. (41)(A), "chapter 71 of title 46" substituted for "the Act of May 12, 1948 (46 U.S.C. 229a–h)" on authority of Pub. L. 98–89, §2(b), Aug. 26, 1983, 97 Stat. 598, section 1 of which enacted Title 46, Shipping.

References to Philippine Islands in pars. (28) and (58) of this section omitted on authority of Proc. No. 2695, issued pursuant to section 1394 of Title 22, Foreign Relations and Intercourse, which proclamation recognized the independence of Philippine Islands as of July 4, 1946. Proc. No. 2695 is set out under section 1394 of Title 22.

Amendments

2010Pub. L. 111–260 added pars. (53) to (59), reordered pars. in alphabetical order based on headings of pars., and renumbered pars. as so reordered, resulting in the renumbering of pars. (1) to (59) as pars. (2) to (13), (15) to (17), (20) to (24), (26), (28) to (35), (37) to (59), (1), (14), (18), (19), (25), (36), and (27), respectively.

1997—Pars. (49) to (52). Pub. L. 105–33 added par. (49) and redesignated former pars. (49) to (51) as (50) to (52), respectively.

1996Pub. L. 104–104, §3(a)(2), (c)(4)–(8), redesignated subsecs. (a) to (ff) as pars. (1) to (32), respectively, realigned margins, inserted headings and words "The term", changed capitalization, added pars. (33) to (51), reordered pars. in alphabetical order based on headings of pars., and renumbered pars. as so reordered.

Subsecs. (e), (n). Pub. L. 104–104, §3(c)(1), redesignated clauses (1) to (3) as (A) to (C), respectively.

Subsec. (r). Pub. L. 104–104, §3(a)(1), designated existing provisions as subpar. (A) and added subpar. (B).

Subsec. (w). Pub. L. 104–104, §3(c)(2), redesignated pars. (1) to (5) as subpars. (A) to (E), respectively.

Subsecs. (y), (z). Pub. L. 104–104, §3(c)(3), redesignated pars. (1) and (2) as subpars. (A) and (B), respectively.

1993—Subsec. (n). Pub. L. 103–66, §6002(b)(2)(B)(ii)(I), inserted cl. (1) designation and added cls. (2) and (3).

Subsec. (gg). Pub. L. 103–66, §6002(b)(2)(B)(ii)(II), struck out subsec. (gg) which read as follows: " 'Private land mobile service' means a mobile service which provides a regularly interacting group of base, mobile, portable, and associated control and relay stations (whether licensed on an individual, cooperative, or multiple basis) for private one-way or two-way land mobile radio communications by eligible users over designated areas of operation."

1982—Subsec. (n). Pub. L. 97–259, §120(b)(2), substituted "a radio" for "the radio", inserted "or receivers" after "between mobile stations", and inserted provision that "mobile service" includes both one-way and two-way radio communication services.

Subsec. (gg). Pub. L. 97–259, §120(b)(1), added subsec. (gg).

1968—Subsec. (e). Pub. L. 90–299 inserted "(other than section 223 of this title)" after "subchapter II of this chapter".

1965—Subsec. (w)(5). Pub. L. 89–121, §1(1), added par. (5).

Subsec. (x). Pub. L. 89–121, §1(2), among other changes, substituted "radiotelegraph auto alarm" for "auto-alarm" wherever appearing, "receiving apparatus which responds to the radiotelegraph alarm signal" for "receiver" in two places, and "country in which the ship is registered" for "country to which the ship belongs" and for "country of origin".

Subsec. (y). Pub. L. 89–121, §1(3), struck out "qualified operator" from pars. (1) and (2), and substituted "country in which the ship is registered" for "country to which the ship belongs".

Subsec. (z). Pub. L. 89–121, §1(4)(D), (E), added subsec. (z) and redesignated former subsec. (z) as (aa).

Subsec. (aa). Pub. L. 89–121, §1(4)(A), (D), redesignated former subsec. (z) as (aa) and former subsec. (aa) as (bb).

Subsecs. (bb) to (dd). Pub. L. 89–121, §1(4)(A), redesignated former subsecs. (aa) to (cc) as (bb) to (dd) and former subsec. (dd) as (ee).

Subsec. (ee). Pub. L. 89–121, §1(4)(A), (B), redesignated former subsec. (dd) as (ee), and repealed former subsec. (ee) which defined "existing installation".

Subsecs. (ff), (gg). Pub. L. 89–121, §1(4)(B), (C), redesignated subsec. (gg) as (ff) and repealed former subsec. (ff) which defined "new installation".

1956—Subsec. (y)(2). Act Aug. 6, 1956, substituted "parts II and III of subchapter III of this chapter" for "part II of subchapter III of this chapter".

1954—Subsec. (e). Act Apr. 27, 1954, §2, obviated any possible construction that the Commission is empowered to assert common-carrier jurisdiction over point-to-point communication by radio between two points within a single State when the only possible claim that such an operation constitutes an interstate communication rests on the fact that the signal may traverse the territory of another State.

Subsec. (u). Act Apr. 27, 1954, §3, inserted reference to clauses (3) and (4) of section 152(b) of this title.

Subsecs. (ee), (ff). Act Aug. 13, 1954, ch. 729, added subsecs. (ee) and (ff).

Subsec. (gg), "Great Lakes Agreement". Act Aug. 13, 1954, ch. 735, added another subsec. (ee) which for purposes of codification was designated subsec. (gg).

1952—Subsecs. (bb) to (dd). Act July 16, 1952, added subsecs. (bb) to (dd).

1937—Subsecs. (w) to (aa). Act May 20, 1937, added subsecs. (w) to (aa).

Effective Date of 1956 Amendment

Amendment by act Aug. 6, 1956, effective Mar. 1, 1957, see section 4 of act Aug. 6, 1956, set out as an Effective Date note under section 381 of this title.

Effective Date of 1954 Amendment

Amendment by act Aug. 13, 1954, ch. 735, effective Nov. 13, 1954, see section 6 of act Aug. 13, 1954, set out as an Effective Date note under section 507 of this title.

Effective Date of 1952 Amendment

Section 19 of act July 16, 1952, provided that: "This Act [enacting section 1343 of Title 18, Crimes and Criminal Procedure, amending this section and sections 154, 155, 307 to 312, 315, 316, 319, 402, 405, 409, and 410 of this title, and enacting provisions set out as notes under this section and section 609 of this title] shall take effect on the date of its enactment [July 16, 1952], but—

"(1) Insofar as the amendments made by this Act to the Communications Act of 1934 [this chapter] provide for procedural changes, requirements imposed by such changes shall not be mandatory as to any agency proceeding (as defined in the Administrative Procedure Act) [see sections 551 et seq. and 701 et seq. of Title 5, Government Organization and Employees] with respect to which hearings have been commenced prior to the date of enactment of this Act [July 16, 1952].

"(2) The amendments made by this Act to section 402 of the Communications Act of 1934 [section 402 of this title] (relating to judicial review of orders and decisions of the Commission) shall not apply with respect to any action or appeal which is pending before any court on the date of enactment of this Act [July 16, 1952]."

Limitation on Liability

Pub. L. 111–260, §2, Oct. 8, 2010, 124 Stat. 2751, provided that:

"(a) In General.—Except as provided in subsection (b), no person shall be liable for a violation of the requirements of this Act [see Short Title of 2010 Amendment note set out under section 609 of this title] (or of the provisions of the Communications Act of 1934 [47 U.S.C. 151 et seq.] that are amended or added by this Act) with respect to video programming, online content, applications, services, advanced communications services, or equipment used to provide or access advanced communications services to the extent such person—

"(1) transmits, routes, or stores in intermediate or transient storage the communications made available through the provision of advanced communications services by a third party; or

"(2) provides an information location tool, such as a directory, index, reference, pointer, menu, guide, user interface, or hypertext link, through which an end user obtains access to such video programming, online content, applications, services, advanced communications services, or equipment used to provide or access advanced communications services.

"(b) Exception.—The limitation on liability under subsection (a) shall not apply to any person who relies on third party applications, services, software, hardware, or equipment to comply with the requirements of this Act (or of the provisions of the Communications Act of 1934 that are amended or added by this Act) with respect to video programming, online content, applications, services, advanced communications services, or equipment used to provide or access advanced communications services."

Proprietary Technology

Pub. L. 111–260, §3, Oct. 8, 2010, 124 Stat. 2752, provided that: "No action taken by the Federal Communications Commission to implement this Act [see Short Title of 2010 Amendment note set out under section 609 of this title] or any amendment made by this Act shall mandate the use or incorporation of proprietary technology."

Great Lakes Agreement

The Great Lakes Agreement, referred to in this section, relates to the bilateral Agreement for the Promotion of Safety on the Great Lakes by Means of Radio, signed at Ottawa, Canada, Feb. 21, 1952; entered into force Nov. 13, 1954, 3 UST 4926. A subsequent agreement for Promotion of Safety on the Great Lakes by Means of Radio, 1973, was signed at Ottawa, Canada, Feb. 26, 1973, and entered into force May 16, 1975, 25 UST 935.

Safety Convention

The United States was a party to the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea, signed at London May 31, 1929, entered into force as to the United States, Nov. 7, 1936, 50 Stat. 1121, 1306. For subsequent International Conventions for the Safety of Life at Sea to which the United States has been a party, see section 1602 of Title 33, Navigation and Navigable Waters, and notes thereunder.

Definitions

Pub. L. 113–200, title I, §112, Dec. 4, 2014, 128 Stat. 2066, provided that: "In this title [amending sections 325, 338, 534, and 543 of this title and enacting provisions set out as notes under sections 325, 338, and 534 of this title]:

"(1) Appropriate congressional committees.—The term 'appropriate congressional committees' means the Committee on Energy and Commerce and the Committee on the Judiciary of the House of Representatives and the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation and the Committee on the Judiciary of the Senate.

"(2) Commission.—The term 'Commission' means the Federal Communications Commission."

Pub. L. 111–260, title II, §206, Oct. 8, 2010, 124 Stat. 2776, provided that: "In this title [amending sections 303, 330, and 613 of this title and enacting provisions set out as notes under sections 303 and 613 of this title]:

"(1) Advisory committee.—The term 'Advisory Committee' means the advisory committee established in section 201 [47 U.S.C. 613 note].

"(2) Chairman.—The term 'Chairman' means the Chairman of the Federal Communications Commission.

"(3) Commission.—The term 'Commission' means the Federal Communications Commission.

"(4) Emergency information.—The term 'emergency information' has the meaning given such term in section 79.2 of title 47, Code of Federal Regulations.

"(5) Internet protocol.—The term 'Internet protocol' includes Transmission Control Protocol and a successor protocol or technology to Internet protocol.

"(6) Navigation device.—The term 'navigation device' has the meaning given such term in section 76.1200 of title 47, Code of Federal Regulations.

"(7) Video description.—The term 'video description' has the meaning given such term in section 713 of the Communications Act of 1934 (47 U.S.C. 613).

"(8) Video programming.—The term 'video programming' has the meaning given such term in section 713 of the Communications Act of 1934 (47 U.S.C. 613)."

Pub. L. 105–33, title III, §3001(a), Aug. 5, 1997, 111 Stat. 258, provided that: "Except as otherwise provided in this title [enacting section 337 of this title, amending this section and sections 303, 309, and 923 to 925 of this title, enacting provisions set out as notes under sections 254, 309, and 925 of this title, and repealing provisions set out as a note under section 309 of this title], the terms used in this title have the meanings provided in section 3 of the Communications Act of 1934 (47 U.S.C. 153), as amended by this section."

Pub. L. 104–104, §3(b), Feb. 8, 1996, 110 Stat. 61, provided that: "Except as otherwise provided in this Act [see Short Title of 1996 Amendment note set out under section 609 of this title], the terms used in this Act have the meanings provided in section 3 of the Communications Act of 1934 (47 U.S.C. 153), as amended by this section."

§154. Federal Communications Commission

(a) Number of commissioners; appointment

The Federal Communications Commission (in this chapter referred to as the "Commission") shall be composed of five commissioners appointed by the President, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate, one of whom the President shall designate as chairman.

(b) Qualifications

(1) Each member of the Commission shall be a citizen of the United States.

(2)(A) No member of the Commission or person employed by the Commission shall—

(i) be financially interested in any company or other entity engaged in the manufacture or sale of telecommunications equipment which is subject to regulation by the Commission;

(ii) be financially interested in any company or other entity engaged in the business of communication by wire or radio or in the use of the electromagnetic spectrum;

(iii) be financially interested in any company or other entity which controls any company or other entity specified in clause (i) or clause (ii), or which derives a significant portion of its total income from ownership of stocks, bonds, or other securities of any such company or other entity; or

(iv) be employed by, hold any official relation to, or own any stocks, bonds, or other securities of, any person significantly regulated by the Commission under this chapter;


except that the prohibitions established in this subparagraph shall apply only to financial interests in any company or other entity which has a significant interest in communications, manufacturing, or sales activities which are subject to regulation by the Commission.

(B)(i) The Commission shall have authority to waive, from time to time, the application of the prohibitions established in subparagraph (A) to persons employed by the Commission if the Commission determines that the financial interests of a person which are involved in a particular case are minimal, except that such waiver authority shall be subject to the provisions of section 208 of title 18. The waiver authority established in this subparagraph shall not apply with respect to members of the Commission.

(ii) In any case in which the Commission exercises the waiver authority established in this subparagraph, the Commission shall publish notice of such action in the Federal Register.

(3) The Commission, in determining whether a company or other entity has a significant interest in communications, manufacturing, or sales activities which are subject to regulation by the Commission, shall consider (without excluding other relevant factors)—

(A) the revenues, investments, profits, and managerial efforts directed to the related communications, manufacturing, or sales activities of the company or other entity involved, as compared to the other aspects of the business of such company or other entity;

(B) the extent to which the Commission regulates and oversees the activities of such company or other entity;

(C) the degree to which the economic interests of such company or other entity may be affected by any action of the Commission; and

(D) the perceptions held by the public regarding the business activities of such company or other entity.


(4) Members of the Commission shall not engage in any other business, vocation, profession, or employment while serving as such members.

(5) The maximum number of commissioners who may be members of the same political party shall be a number equal to the least number of commissioners which constitutes a majority of the full membership of the Commission.

(c) Terms of office; vacancies

(1) A commissioner—

(A) shall be appointed for a term of 5 years;

(B) except as provided in subparagraph (C), may continue to serve after the expiration of the fixed term of office of the commissioner until a successor is appointed and has been confirmed and taken the oath of office; and

(C) may not continue to serve after the expiration of the session of Congress that begins after the expiration of the fixed term of office of the commissioner.


(2) Any person chosen to fill a vacancy in the Commission—

(A) shall be appointed for the unexpired term of the commissioner that the person succeeds;

(B) except as provided in subparagraph (C), may continue to serve after the expiration of the fixed term of office of the commissioner that the person succeeds until a successor is appointed and has been confirmed and taken the oath of office; and

(C) may not continue to serve after the expiration of the session of Congress that begins after the expiration of the fixed term of office of the commissioner that the person succeeds.


(3) No vacancy in the Commission shall impair the right of the remaining commissioners to exercise all the powers of the Commission.

(d) Compensation of Commission members

Each Commissioner shall receive an annual salary at the annual rate payable from time to time for level IV of the Executive Schedule, payable in monthly installments. The Chairman of the Commission, during the period of his service as Chairman, shall receive an annual salary at the annual rate payable from time to time for level III of the Executive Schedule.

(e) Principal office; special sessions

The principal office of the Commission shall be in the District of Columbia, where its general sessions shall be held; but whenever the convenience of the public or of the parties may be promoted or delay or expense prevented thereby, the Commission may hold special sessions in any part of the United States.

(f) Employees and assistants; compensation of members of Field Engineering and Monitoring Bureau; use of amateur volunteers for certain purposes; commercial radio operator examinations

(1) The Commission shall have authority, subject to the provisions of the civil-service laws and chapter 51 and subchapter III of chapter 53 of title 5, to appoint such officers, engineers, accountants, attorneys, inspectors, examiners, and other employees as are necessary in the exercise of its functions.

(2) Without regard to the civil-service laws, but subject to chapter 51 and subchapter III of chapter 53 of title 5, each commissioner may appoint three professional assistants and a secretary, each of whom shall perform such duties as such commissioner shall direct. In addition, the chairman of the Commission may appoint, without regard to the civil-service laws, but subject to chapter 51 and subchapter III of chapter 53 of title 5, and administrative assistant who shall perform such duties as the chairman shall direct.

(3) The Commission shall fix a reasonable rate of extra compensation for overtime services of engineers in charge and radio engineers of the Field Engineering and Monitoring Bureau of the Federal Communications Commission, who may be required to remain on duty between the hours of 5 o'clock postmeridian and 8 o'clock antemeridian or on Sundays or holidays to perform services in connection with the inspection of ship radio equipment and apparatus for the purposes of part II of subchapter III of this chapter or the Great Lakes Agreement, on the basis of one-half day's additional pay for each two hours or fraction thereof of at least one hour that the overtime extends beyond 5 o'clock postmeridian (but not to exceed two and one-half days' pay for the full period from 5 o'clock postmeridian to 8 o'clock antemeridian) and two additional days' pay for Sunday or holiday duty. The said extra compensation for overtime services shall be paid by the master, owner, or agent of such vessel to the local United States collector of customs or his representative, who shall deposit such collection into the Treasury of the United States to an appropriately designated receipt account: Provided, That the amounts of such collections received by the said collector of customs or his representatives shall be covered into the Treasury as miscellaneous receipts; and the payments of such extra compensation to the several employees entitled thereto shall be made from the annual appropriations for salaries and expenses of the Commission: Provided further, That to the extent that the annual appropriations which are authorized to be made from the general fund of the Treasury are insufficient, there are authorized to be appropriated from the general fund of the Treasury such additional amounts as may be necessary to the extent that the amounts of such receipts are in excess of the amounts appropriated: Provided further, That such extra compensation shall be paid if such field employees have been ordered to report for duty and have so reported whether the actual inspection of the radio equipment or apparatus takes place or not: And provided further, That in those ports where customary working hours are other than those hereinabove mentioned, the engineers in charge are vested with authority to regulate the hours of such employees so as to agree with prevailing working hours in said ports where inspections are to be made, but nothing contained in this proviso shall be construed in any manner to alter the length of a working day for the engineers in charge and radio engineers or the overtime pay herein fixed: and Provided further, That, in the alternative, an entity designated by the Commission may make the inspections referred to in this paragraph.

(4)(A) The Commission, for purposes of preparing or administering any examination for an amateur station operator license, may accept and employ the voluntary and uncompensated services of any individual who holds an amateur station operator license of a higher class than the class of license for which the examination is being prepared or administered. In the case of examinations for the highest class of amateur station operator license, the Commission may accept and employ such services of any individual who holds such class of license.

(B)(i) The Commission, for purposes of monitoring violations of any provision of this chapter (and of any regulation prescribed by the Commission under this chapter) relating to the amateur radio service, may—

(I) recruit and train any individual licensed by the Commission to operate an amateur station; and

(II) accept and employ the voluntary and uncompensated services of such individual.


(ii) The Commission, for purposes of recruiting and training individuals under clause (i) and for purposes of screening, annotating, and summarizing violation reports referred under clause (i), may accept and employ the voluntary and uncompensated services of any amateur station operator organization.

(iii) The functions of individuals recruited and trained under this subparagraph shall be limited to—

(I) the detection of improper amateur radio transmissions;

(II) the conveyance to Commission personnel of information which is essential to the enforcement of this chapter (or regulations prescribed by the Commission under this chapter) relating to the amateur radio service; and

(III) issuing advisory notices, under the general direction of the Commission, to persons who apparently have violated any provision of this chapter (or regulations prescribed by the Commission under this chapter) relating to the amateur radio service.


Nothing in this clause shall be construed to grant individuals recruited and trained under this subparagraph any authority to issue sanctions to violators or to take any enforcement action other than any action which the Commission may prescribe by rule.

(C)(i) The Commission, for purposes of monitoring violations of any provision of this chapter (and of any regulation prescribed by the Commission under this chapter) relating to the citizens band radio service, may—

(I) recruit and train any citizens band radio operator; and

(II) accept and employ the voluntary and uncompensated services of such operator.


(ii) The Commission, for purposes of recruiting and training individuals under clause (i) and for purposes of screening, annotating, and summarizing violation reports referred under clause (i), may accept and employ the voluntary and uncompensated services of any citizens band radio operator organization. The Commission, in accepting and employing services of individuals under this subparagraph, shall seek to achieve a broad representation of individuals and organizations interested in citizens band radio operation.

(iii) The functions of individuals recruited and trained under this subparagraph shall be limited to—

(I) the detection of improper citizens band radio transmissions;

(II) the conveyance to Commission personnel of information which is essential to the enforcement of this chapter (or regulations prescribed by the Commission under this chapter) relating to the citizens band radio service; and

(III) issuing advisory notices, under the general direction of the Commission, to persons who apparently have violated any provision of this chapter (or regulations prescribed by the Commission under this chapter) relating to the citizens band radio service.


Nothing in this clause shall be construed to grant individuals recruited and trained under this subparagraph any authority to issue sanctions to violators or to take any enforcement action other than any action which the Commission may prescribe by rule.

(D) The Commission shall have the authority to endorse certification of individuals to perform transmitter installation, operation, maintenance, and repair duties in the private land mobile services and fixed services (as defined by the Commission by rule) if such certification programs are conducted by organizations or committees which are representative of the users in those services and which consist of individuals who are not officers or employees of the Federal Government.

(E) The authority of the Commission established in this paragraph shall not be subject to or affected by the provisions of part III of title 5 or section 1342 of title 31.

(F) Any person who provides services under this paragraph shall not be considered, by reason of having provided such services, a Federal employee.

(G) The Commission, in accepting and employing services of individuals under subparagraphs (A) and (B), shall seek to achieve a broad representation of individuals and organizations interested in amateur station operation.

(H) The Commission may establish rules of conduct and other regulations governing the service of individuals under this paragraph.

(I) With respect to the acceptance of voluntary uncompensated services for the preparation, processing, or administration of examinations for amateur station operator licenses pursuant to subparagraph (A) of this paragraph, individuals, or organizations which provide or coordinate such authorized volunteer services may recover from examinees reimbursement for out-of-pocket costs.

(5)(A) The Commission, for purposes of preparing and administering any examination for a commercial radio operator license or endorsement, may accept and employ the services of persons that the Commission determines to be qualified. Any person so employed may not receive compensation for such services, but may recover from examinees such fees as the Commission permits, considering such factors as public service and cost estimates submitted by such person.

(B) The Commission may prescribe regulations to select, oversee, sanction, and dismiss any person authorized under this paragraph to be employed by the Commission.

(C) Any person who provides services under this paragraph or who provides goods in connection with such services shall not, by reason of having provided such service or goods, be considered a Federal or special government employee.

(g) Expenditures

(1) The Commission may make such expenditures (including expenditures for rent and personal services at the seat of government and elsewhere, for office supplies, law books, periodicals, and books of reference, for printing and binding, for land for use as sites for radio monitoring stations and related facilities, including living quarters where necessary in remote areas, for the construction of such stations and facilities, and for the improvement, furnishing, equipping, and repairing of such stations and facilities and of laboratories and other related facilities (including construction of minor subsidiary buildings and structures not exceeding $25,000 in any one instance) used in connection with technical research activities), as may be necessary for the execution of the functions vested in the Commission and as may be appropriated for by the Congress in accordance with the authorizations of appropriations established in section 156 of this title. All expenditures of the Commission, including all necessary expenses for transportation incurred by the commissioners or by their employees, under their orders, in making any investigation or upon any official business in any other places than in the city of Washington, shall be allowed and paid on the presentation of itemized vouchers therefor approved by the chairman of the Commission or by such other member or officer thereof as may be designated by the Commission for that purpose.

(2) Repealed. Pub. L. 115–141, div. P, title IV, §402(i)(1)(B), Mar. 23, 2018, 132 Stat. 1089.

(3)(A) Notwithstanding any other provision of law, in furtherance of its functions the Commission is authorized to accept, hold, administer, and use unconditional gifts, donations, and bequests of real, personal, and other property (including voluntary and uncompensated services, as authorized by section 3109 of title 5).

(B) The Commission, for purposes of providing radio club and military-recreational call signs, may utilize the voluntary, uncompensated, and unreimbursed services of amateur radio organizations authorized by the Commission that have tax-exempt status under section 501(c)(3) of title 26.

(C) For the purpose of Federal law on income taxes, estate taxes, and gift taxes, property or services accepted under the authority of subparagraph (A) shall be deemed to be a gift, bequest, or devise to the United States.

(D) The Commission shall promulgate regulations to carry out the provisions of this paragraph. Such regulations shall include provisions to preclude the acceptance of any gift, bequest, or donation that would create a conflict of interest or the appearance of a conflict of interest.

(h) Quorum; seal

Three members of the Commission shall constitute a quorum thereof. The Commission shall have an official seal which shall be judicially noticed.

(i) Duties and powers

The Commission may perform any and all acts, make such rules and regulations, and issue such orders, not inconsistent with this chapter, as may be necessary in the execution of its functions.

(j) Conduct of proceedings; hearings

The Commission may conduct its proceedings in such manner as will best conduce to the proper dispatch of business and to the ends of justice. No commissioner shall participate in any hearing or proceeding in which he has a pecuniary interest. Any party may appear before the Commission and be heard in person or by attorney. Every vote and official act of the Commission shall be entered of record, and its proceedings shall be public upon the request of any party interested. The Commission is authorized to withhold publication of records or proceedings containing secret information affecting the national defense.

(k) Record of reports

All reports of investigations made by the Commission shall be entered of record, and a copy thereof shall be furnished to the party who may have complained, and to any common carrier or licensee that may have been complained of.

(l) Publication of reports; admissibility as evidence

The Commission shall provide for the publication of its reports and decisions in such form and manner as may be best adapted for public information and use, and such authorized publications shall be competent evidence of the reports and decisions of the Commission therein contained in all courts of the United States and of the several States without any further proof or authentication thereof.

(m) Compensation of appointees

Rates of compensation of persons appointed under this section shall be subject to the reduction applicable to officers and employees of the Federal Government generally.

(n) Use of communications in safety of life and property

For the purpose of obtaining maximum effectiveness from the use of radio and wire communications in connection with safety of life and property, the Commission shall investigate and study all phases of the problem and the best methods of obtaining the cooperation and coordination of these systems.

(June 19, 1934, ch. 652, title I, §4, 48 Stat. 1066; Jan. 22, 1936, ch. 25, 49 Stat. 1098; May 20, 1937, ch. 229, §§3, 4, 50 Stat. 190; Mar. 23, 1941, ch. 24, 55 Stat. 46; July 16, 1952, ch. 879, §3, 66 Stat. 711; Aug. 13, 1954, ch. 735, §2, 68 Stat. 729; Pub. L. 86–533, §1(24), June 29, 1960, 74 Stat. 249; Pub. L. 86–619, §2, July 12, 1960, 74 Stat. 407; Pub. L. 86–752, §2, Sept. 13, 1960, 74 Stat. 889; Pub. L. 97–35, title XII, §1251(b), Aug. 13, 1981, 95 Stat. 738; Pub. L. 97–253, title V, §501(b)(1)–(3), Sept. 8, 1982, 96 Stat. 805, 806; Pub. L. 97–259, title I, §§102–104, Sept. 13, 1982, 96 Stat. 1087–1089; Pub. L. 98–214, §§10, 11, Dec. 8, 1983, 97 Stat. 1471; Pub. L. 99–272, title V, §5002(b), Apr. 7, 1986, 100 Stat. 118; Pub. L. 99–334, §1(a), June 6, 1986, 100 Stat. 513; Pub. L. 100–594, §3, Nov. 3, 1988, 102 Stat. 3021; Pub. L. 101–396, §§3, 4, Sept. 28, 1990, 104 Stat. 848, 849; Pub. L. 102–538, title II, §§201, 208, Oct. 27, 1992, 106 Stat. 3542, 3543; Pub. L. 103–414, title III, §303(a)(1), Oct. 25, 1994, 108 Stat. 4294; Pub. L. 104–66, title II, §2051(b), Dec. 21, 1995, 109 Stat. 729; Pub. L. 104–104, title IV, §403(a), (b), Feb. 8, 1996, 110 Stat. 130; Pub. L. 115–141, div. P, title IV, §402(h)(1), (i)(1), title V, §509, Mar. 23, 2018, 132 Stat. 1089, 1096.)

References in Text

This chapter, referred to in text, was in the original "this Act", meaning act June 19, 1934, ch. 652, 48 Stat. 1064, known as the Communications Act of 1934, which is classified principally to this chapter. For complete classification of this Act to the Code, see section 609 of this title and Tables.

Level III and level IV of the Executive Schedule, referred to in subsec. (d), are set out in sections 5314 and 5315, respectively, of Title 5, Government Organization and Employees.

Part II of subchapter III of this chapter, referred to in subsec. (f)(3), is classified to section 351 et seq. of this title.

Provisions of part III of title 5, referred to in subsec. (f)(4)(E), are classified to section 2101 et seq. of Title 5, Government Organization and Employees.

Codification

In subsec. (f)(1), (2), "chapter 51 and subchapter III of chapter 53 of title 5" substituted for "the Classification of 1949" on authority of Pub. L. 89–554, §7(b), Sept. 6, 1966, 80 Stat. 631, the first section of which enacted Title 5, Government Organization and Employees.

In subsec. (f)(4)(E), "section 1342 of title 31" substituted for "section 3679(b) of the Revised Statutes (31 U.S.C. 665(b))" on authority of Pub. L. 97–258, §4(b), Sept. 13, 1982, 96 Stat. 1067, the first section of which enacted Title 31, Money and Finance.

Amendments

2018—Subsec. (b)(2)(B)(ii). Pub. L. 115–141, §402(i)(1)(A), struck out before period at end "and shall furnish notice of such action to the appropriate committees of each House of the Congress. Each such notice shall include information regarding the identity of the person receiving the waiver, the position held by such person, and the nature of the financial interests which are the subject of the waiver".

Subsec. (c). Pub. L. 115–141, §509, amended subsec. (c) generally. Prior to amendment, text read as follows: "commissioners shall be appointed for terms of five years and until their successors are appointed and have been confirmed and taken the oath of office, except that they shall not continue to serve beyond the expiration of the next session of Congress subsequent to the expiration of said fixed term of office; except that any person chosen to fill a vacancy shall be appointed only for the unexpired term of the commissioner whom he succeeds. No vacancy in the Commission shall impair the right of the remaining commissioners to exercise all the powers of the Commission."

Subsec. (g)(2). Pub. L. 115–141, §402(i)(1)(B), struck out par. (2), which related to reimbursements to the Commission for necessary travel expenses.

Subsecs. (k) to (o). Pub. L. 115–141, §402(h)(1), redesignated subsecs. (l) to (o) as (k) to (n), respectively, and struck out former subsec. (k). Prior to amendment, text of subsec. (k) read as follows: "The Commission shall make an annual report to Congress, copies of which shall be distributed as are other reports transmitted to Congress. Such reports shall contain—

"(1) such information and data collected by the Commission as may be considered of value in the determination of questions connected with the regulation of interstate and foreign wire and radio communication and radio transmission of energy;

"(2) such information and data concerning the functioning of the Commission as will be of value to Congress in appraising the amount and character of the work and accomplishments of the Commission and the adequacy of its staff and equipment;

"(3) an itemized statement of all funds expended during the preceding year by the Commission, of the sources of such funds, and of the authority in this chapter or elsewhere under which such expenditures were made; and

"(4) specific recommendations to Congress as to additional legislation which the Commission deems necessary or desirable, including all legislative proposals submitted for approval to the Director of the Office of Management and Budget."

1996—Subsec. (f)(3). Pub. L. 104–104, §403(b), inserted before period at end ": and Provided further, That, in the alternative, an entity designated by the Commission may make the inspections referred to in this paragraph".

Subsec. (f)(4)(A). Pub. L. 104–104, §403(a)(1), in first sentence, inserted "or administering" after "for purposes of preparing", "of" after "than the class", and "or administered" after "being prepared".

Subsec. (f)(4)(B). Pub. L. 104–104, §403(a)(2), (5), redesignated subpar. (C) as (B) and struck out former subpar. (B) which read as follows: "The Commission, for purposes of administering any examination for an amateur station operator license, may accept and employ the voluntary and uncompensated services of any individual who holds an amateur station operator license of a higher class than the class license for which the examination is being conducted. In the case of examinations for the highest class of amateur station operator license, the Commission may accept and employ such services of any individual who holds such class of license. Any person who owns a significant interest in, or is an employee of, any company or other entity which is engaged in the manufacture or distribution of equipment used in connection with amateur radio transmissions, or in the preparation or distribution of any publication used in preparation for obtaining amateur station operator licenses, shall not be eligible to render any service under this subparagraph."

Subsec. (f)(4)(C) to (G). Pub. L. 104–104, §403(a)(5), redesignated subpars. (D) to (H) as (C) to (G), respectively. Former subpar. (C) redesignated (B).

Subsec. (f)(4)(H). Pub. L. 104–104, §403(a)(5), redesignated subpar. (I) as (H). Former subpar. (H) redesignated (G).

Pub. L. 104–104, §403(a)(3), substituted "subparagraphs (A) and (B)" for "subparagraphs (A), (B), and (C)".

Subsec. (f)(4)(I). Pub. L. 104–104, §403(a)(5), redesignated subpar. (J) as (I). Former subpar. (I) redesignated (H).

Subsec. (f)(4)(J). Pub. L. 104–104, §403(a)(4), (5), redesignated subpar. (J) as (I) and substituted "subparagraph (A) of this paragraph" for "subparagraph (A) or (B) of this paragraph" and struck out last sentence which read as follows: "The total amount of allowable cost reimbursement per examinee shall not exceed $4, adjusted annually every January 1 for changes in the Department of Labor Consumer Price Index."

1995—Subsec. (f)(4)(J). Pub. L. 104–66 struck out at end "Such individuals and organizations shall maintain records of out-of-pocket expenditures and shall certify annually to the Commission that all costs for which reimbursement was obtained were necessarily and prudently incurred."

1994—Subsec. (f)(3). Pub. L. 103–414 substituted "overtime extends beyond" for "overtime exceeds beyond".

1992—Subsec. (g)(2)(D). Pub. L. 102–538, §201, substituted "1994" for "1992".

Subsec. (g)(3). Pub. L. 102–538, §208, added par. (3).

1990—Subsec. (f)(5). Pub. L. 101–396, §3, added par. (5).

Subsec. (g)(2)(D). Pub. L. 101–396, §4, substituted "1992" for "1989".

1988—Subsec. (g)(2)(D). Pub. L. 100–594 substituted "1989" for "1987".

1986—Subsec. (c). Pub. L. 99–334 substituted "five years" for "seven years".

Subsec. (g)(2)(D). Pub. L. 99–272, §5002(b)(1), substituted "1987" for "1985".

Subsec. (g)(2)(E). Pub. L. 99–272, §5002(b)(2), added subpar. (E).

1983—Subsec. (f)(4)(E) to (I). Pub. L. 98–214, §10, added subpar. (E) and redesignated existing subpars. (E) to (H) as (F) to (I), respectively.

Subsec. (f)(4)(J). Pub. L. 98–214, §11, added subpar. (J).

1982—Subsec. (a). Pub. L. 97–253, §501(b)(1), substituted "five" for "seven".

Subsec. (b). Pub. L. 97–259, §102, amended subsec. (b) generally. Prior to amendment, subsec. (b) read as follows: "Each member of the Commission shall be a citizen of the United States. No member of the Commission or person in its employ shall be financially interested in the manufacture or sale of radio apparatus or of apparatus for wire or radio communication; in communication by wire or radio or in radio transmission of energy; in any company furnishing services or such apparatus to any company engaged in communication by wire or radio or to any company manufacturing or selling apparatus used for communication by wire or radio; or in any company owning stocks, bonds, or other securities of any such company; nor be in the employ of or hold any official relation to any person subject to any of the provisions of this chapter, nor own stocks, bonds, or other securities of any corporation subject to any of the provisions of this chapter. Such commissioners shall not engage in any other business, vocation, profession, or employment. Any such commissioner serving as such after one year from July 16, 1952, shall not for a period of one year following the termination of his services as a commissioner represent any person before the Commission in a professional capacity, except that this restriction shall not apply to any commissioner who has served the full term for which he was appointed. Not more than four members of the Commission shall be members of the same political party."

Pub. L. 97–253, §501(b)(2), amended last sentence of subsec. (b), prior to the general amendment by Pub. L. 97–259, by substituting language identical to that contained in par. (5), as added by Pub. L. 97–259.

Subsec. (c). Pub. L. 97–259, §103(a), struck out "The" before "commissioners" at beginning of subsection, immediately thereafter struck out "first appointed under this chapter shall continue in office for the terms of one, two, three, four, five, six, and seven years, respectively, from the date of the taking effect of this chapter, the term of each to be designated by the President, but their successors", and substituted "been confirmed and taken the oath of office" for "qualified".

Subsec. (d). Pub. L. 97–259, §103(b), amended subsec. (d) generally, relating to the annual salary rate for the Chairman and Commissioners.

Subsec. (f)(2). Pub. L. 97–259, §103(c), substituted "three professional assistants" for "a legal assistant, an engineering assistant,".

Subsec. (f)(4). Pub. L. 97–259, §104, added par. (4).

Subsec. (g). Pub. L. 97–259, §103(d), designated existing provisions as par. (1) and added par. (2).

Subsec. (h). Pub. L. 97–253, §501(b)(3), substituted "Three" for "Four".

Subsec. (k)(2). Pub. L. 97–259, §103(e), struck out proviso after "its staff and equipment", relating to the content of first and second annual reports after the enactment of the Communications Act Amendments of 1952.

Subsec. (k)(3). Pub. L. 97–259, §103(f), redesignated par. (4) as (3).

Subsec. (k)(4), (5). Pub. L. 97–259, §103(f), (g), redesignated par. (5) as (4) and substituted "Office of Management and Budget" for "Bureau of the Budget". Former par. (4) redesignated (3).

1981—Subsec. (g). Pub. L. 97–35 substituted requirement respecting authorizations under section 156 of this title, for provisions respecting appropriations from time to time.

1960—Subsec. (b). Pub. L. 86–752 struck out provision that permitted commissioners to accept "reasonable honorarium or compensation" for "the presentation or delivery of publications or papers".

Subsec. (c). Pub. L. 86–619 provided for continuation in office of the commissioners upon termination of their term until their successors are appointed and have qualified, not beyond expiration of next session of Congress subsequent to the expiration of said fixed term of office.

Subsec. (k)(3). Pub. L. 86–533 repealed par. (3) which required the report to contain information with respect to all persons taken into the employment of the Commission during the preceding year, together with the names of those persons who left the employ of the Commission during the year.

1954—Subsec. (f)(3). Act Aug. 13, 1954, substituted "engineers" for "inspectors" and "Field Engineering and Monitoring Bureau of the Federal Communications Commission" for "Field Division of the Engineering Department of the Federal Communications Commission" and extended provisions to include inspections required pursuant to the Great Lakes Agreement.

1952—Subsec. (b). Act July 16, 1952, §3(a), prohibited commissioners from engaging in any other work except that they may present or deliver papers for an honorarium, and prohibited any commissioner from appearing before the Commission in a professional capacity for 1 year after termination of his services except that this prohibition would not apply where commissioner has completed his full term.

Subsec. (f). Act July 16, 1952, §3(b), authorized Commission to appoint employees, allowed each commissioner to appoint a legal assistant, and a secretary, and allowed the Chairman to appoint an administrative assistant.

Subsec. (g). Act July 16, 1952, §3(c), authorized Commission to acquire land for monitoring stations and related facilities.

Subsec. (k). Act July 16, 1952, §3(d), required Commission to make more detailed reports to Congress.

1941—Subsec. (f). Act Mar. 23, 1941, designated existing provisions as par. (1) and added par. (2).

1937—Subsec. (k). Act May 20, 1937, inserted provisions that the Commission report to Congress annually at the beginning session of the Congress whether new wire or radio communication legislation is necessary and make specific recommendations thereof to Congress.

Subsec. (o). Act May 20, 1937, added subsec. (o).

1936—Subsec. (f). Act Jan. 22, 1936, inserted references to a chief accountant and three assistants.

Effective Date of 1986 Amendment

Pub. L. 99–334, §1(b), June 6, 1986, 100 Stat. 513, provided that: "The amendment made by subsection (a) of this section [amending this section] shall take effect on the date of enactment of this Act [June 6, 1986, except that—

"(1) upon the expiration of the term of office prescribed by law to occur on June 30, 1986, any person appointed as a member of the Federal Communications Commission to fill such office for the term following such date shall be eligible to serve until June 30, 1990, and any person appointed as a member of the Federal Communications Commission to the term of office prescribed by law to expire on June 30, 1987, shall be eligible to serve until June 30, 1989; and

"(2) notwithstanding the provisions of subsection (a) of this section [amending this section], persons appointed as members of the Federal Communications Commission to terms of office prescribed by law to expire on June 30, 1988, June 30, 1991, and June 30, 1992, shall be eligible to serve until the expiration of the term of office on June 30, 1988, June 30, 1991, and June 30, 1992, whichever is applicable."

Effective Date of 1982 Amendment

Pub. L. 97–253, title V, §501(b)(4), Sept. 8, 1982, 96 Stat. 806, provided that: "The amendments made in paragraphs (1), (2), and (3) of this subsection [amending this section] shall take effect on July 1, 1983."

Effective Date of 1954 Amendment

Amendment by act Aug. 13, 1954, effective Nov. 13, 1954, see section 6 of act Aug. 13, 1954, set out as an Effective Date note under section 507 of this title.

Termination of Reporting Requirements

For termination, effective May 15, 2000, of provisions in subsecs. (g)(2)(C) and (k) of this section relating to requirements to submit regular periodic reports to Congress, see section 3003 of Pub. L. 104–66, as amended, set out as a note under section 1113 of Title 31, Money and Finance, and the 5th and 9th items on page 167 of House Document No. 103–7.

Transfer of Functions

All offices of collector of customs, referred to in subsec. (f)(3), in Bureau of Customs of Department of the Treasury to which appointments were required to be made by President with advice and consent of Senate ordered abolished with such offices to be terminated not later than Dec. 31, 1966, by Reorg. Plan No. 1 of 1965, eff. May 25, 1965, 30 F.R. 7035, 79 Stat. 1317, set out in the Appendix to Title 5, Government Organization and Employees. All functions of offices eliminated were already vested in Secretary of the Treasury by Reorg. Plan No. 26 of 1950, eff. July 31, 1950, 15 F.R. 4935, 64 Stat. 1280, set out in the Appendix to Title 5.

Effect on Authority of Federal Communications Commission

Pub. L. 115–141, div. P, title IV, §403, Mar. 23, 2018, 132 Stat. 1090, provided that: "Nothing in this title [see Tables for classification] or the amendments made by this title shall be construed to expand or contract the authority of the Commission [Federal Communications Commission]."

Additional Reports

Pub. L. 115–141, div. P, title IV, §404, Mar. 23, 2018, 132 Stat. 1090, provided that: "Nothing in this title [see Tables for classification] or the amendments made by this title shall be construed to prohibit or otherwise prevent the Commission from producing any additional reports otherwise within the authority of the Commission [Federal Communications Commission]."

Older Americans Program

Section 6 of Pub. L. 100–594, as amended by Pub. L. 101–396, §5, Sept. 28, 1990, 104 Stat. 849; Pub. L. 102–538, title II, §212, Oct. 27, 1992, 106 Stat. 3545, provided that:

"(a) During fiscal years 1992 and 1993, the Federal Communications Commission is authorized to make grants to, or enter into cooperative agreements with, private nonprofit organizations designated by the Secretary of Labor under title V of the Older Americans Act of 1965 (42 U.S.C. 3056 et seq.) to utilize the talents of older Americans in programs authorized by other provisions of law administered by the Commission (and consistent with such provisions of law) in providing technical and administrative assistance for projects related to the implementation, promotion, or enforcement of the regulations of the Commission.

"(b) Prior to awarding any grant or entering into any agreement under subsection (a), the Office of the Managing Director of the Commission shall certify to the Commission that such grant or agreement will not—

"(1) result in the displacement of individuals currently employed by the Commission;

"(2) result in the employment of any individual when any other individual is on layoff status from the same or a substantially equivalent job within the jurisdiction of the Commission; or

"(3) affect existing contracts for services.

"(c) Participants in any program under a grant or cooperative agreement pursuant to this section shall—

"(1) execute a signed statement with the Commission in which such participants certify that they will adhere to the standards of conduct prescribed for regular employees of the Commission, as set forth in part 19 of title 47, Code of Federal Regulations; and

"(2) execute a confidential statement of employment and financial interest (Federal Communications Commission Form A–54) prior to commencement of work under the program.

Failure to comply with the terms of the signed statement described in paragraph (1) shall result in termination of the individual under the grant or agreement.

"(d) Nothing in this section shall be construed to permit employment of any such participant in any decisionmaking or policymaking position.

"(e) Grants or agreements under this section shall be subject to prior appropriation Acts."

Expiration of Commissioners' Terms

Pub. L. 97–253, title V, §501(a), Sept. 8, 1982, 96 Stat. 805, provided that: "Upon expiration of the term of office as a member of the Federal Communications Commission, which is prescribed by law to occur on June 30, 1982, any member appointed to fill such office after such date shall be appointed for a term which ends on June 30, 1983, and such office shall be abolished on July 1, 1983. Upon expiration of the term of office as a member of such Commission, which—

"(1) is prescribed by law;

"(2) is in effect before the date of the enactment of this Act [Sept. 8, 1982]; and

"(3) is to occur on June 30, 1983;

no person shall be appointed to fill such office after such date, and such office shall be abolished on July 1, 1983."

§155. Commission

(a) Chairman; duties; vacancy

The member of the Commission designated by the President as chairman shall be the chief executive officer of the Commission. It shall be his duty to preside at all meetings and sessions of the Commission, to represent the Commission in all matters relating to legislation and legislative reports, except that any commissioner may present his own or minority views or supplemental reports, to represent the Commission in all matters requiring conferences or communications with other governmental officers, departments or agencies, and generally to coordinate and organize the work of the Commission in such manner as to promote prompt and efficient disposition of all matters within the jurisdiction of the Commission. In the case of a vacancy in the office of the chairman of the Commission, or the absence or inability of the chairman to serve, the Commission may temporarily designate one of its members to act as chairman until the cause or circumstance requiring such designation shall have been eliminated or corrected.

(b) Organization of staff

From time to time as the Commission may find necessary, the Commission shall organize its staff into (1) integrated bureaus, to function on the basis of the Commission's principal workload operations, and (2) such other divisional organizations as the Commission may deem necessary. Each such integrated bureau shall include such legal, engineering, accounting, administrative, clerical, and other personnel as the Commission may determine to be necessary to perform its functions.

(c) Delegation of functions; exceptions to initial orders; force, effect and enforcement of orders; administrative and judicial review; qualifications and compensation of delegates; assignment of cases; separation of review and investigative or prosecuting functions; secretary; seal

(1) When necessary to the proper functioning of the Commission and the prompt and orderly conduct of its business, the Commission may, by published rule or by order, delegate any of its functions (except functions granted to the Commission by this paragraph and by paragraphs (4), (5), and (6) of this subsection and except any action referred to in sections 204(a)(2), 208(b), and 405(b) of this title) to a panel of commissioners, an individual commissioner, an employee board, or an individual employee, including functions with respect to hearing, determining, ordering, certifying, reporting, or otherwise acting as to any work, business, or matter; except that in delegating review functions to employees in cases of adjudication (as defined in section 551 of title 5), the delegation in any such case may be made only to an employee board consisting of two or more employees referred to in paragraph (8) of this subsection. Any such rule or order may be adopted, amended, or rescinded only by a vote of a majority of the members of the Commission then holding office. Except for cases involving the authorization of service in the instructional television fixed service, or as otherwise provided in this chapter, nothing in this paragraph shall authorize the Commission to provide for the conduct, by any person or persons other than persons referred to in paragraph (2) or (3) of section 556(b) of title 5, of any hearing to which such section applies.

(2) As used in this subsection the term "order, decision, report, or action" does not include an initial, tentative, or recommended decision to which exceptions may be filed as provided in section 409(b) of this title.

(3) Any order, decision, report, or action made or taken pursuant to any such delegation, unless reviewed as provided in paragraph (4) of this subsection, shall have the same force and effect, and shall be made, evidenced, and enforced in the same manner, as orders, decisions, reports, or other actions of the Commission.

(4) Any person aggrieved by any such order, decision, report or action may file an application for review by the Commission within such time and in such manner as the Commission shall prescribe, and every such application shall be passed upon by the Commission. The Commission, on its own initiative, may review in whole or in part, at such time and in such manner as it shall determine, any order, decision, report, or action made or taken pursuant to any delegation under paragraph (1) of this subsection.

(5) In passing upon applications for review, the Commission may grant, in whole or in part, or deny such applications without specifying any reasons therefor. No such application for review shall rely on questions of fact or law upon which the panel of commissioners, individual commissioner, employee board, or individual employee has been afforded no opportunity to pass.

(6) If the Commission grants the application for review, it may affirm, modify, or set aside the order, decision, report, or action, or it may order a rehearing upon such order, decision, report, or action in accordance with section 405 of this title.

(7) The filing of an application for review under this subsection shall be a condition precedent to judicial review of any order, decision, report, or action made or taken pursuant to a delegation under paragraph (1) of this subsection. The time within which a petition for review must be filed in a proceeding to which section 402(a) of this title applies, or within which an appeal must be taken under section 402(b) of this title, shall be computed from the date upon which public notice is given of orders disposing of all applications for review filed in any case.

(8) The employees to whom the Commission may delegate review functions in any case of adjudication (as defined in section 551 of title 5) shall be qualified, by reason of their training, experience, and competence, to perform such review functions, and shall perform no duties inconsistent with such review functions. Such employees shall be in a grade classification or salary level commensurate with their important duties, and in no event less than the grade classification or salary level of the employee or employees whose actions are to be reviewed. In the performance of such review functions such employees shall be assigned to cases in rotation so far as practicable and shall not be responsible to or subject to the supervision or direction of any officer, employee, or agent engaged in the performance of investigative or prosecuting functions for any agency.

(9) The secretary and seal of the Commission shall be the secretary and seal of each panel of the Commission, each individual commissioner, and each employee board or individual employee exercising functions delegated pursuant to paragraph (1) of this subsection.

(d) Meetings

Meetings of the Commission shall be held at regular intervals, not less frequently than once each calendar month, at which times the functioning of the Commission and the handling of its work load shall be reviewed and such orders shall be entered and other action taken as may be necessary or appropriate to expedite the prompt and orderly conduct of the business of the Commission with the objective of rendering a final decision (1) within three months from the date of filing in all original application, renewal, and transfer cases in which it will not be necessary to hold a hearing, and (2) within six months from the final date of the hearing in all hearing cases.

(e) Managing Director; appointment, functions, pay

The Commission shall have a Managing Director who shall be appointed by the Chairman subject to the approval of the Commission. The Managing Director, under the supervision and direction of the Chairman, shall perform such administrative and executive functions as the Chairman shall delegate. The Managing Director shall be paid at a rate equal to the rate then payable for level V of the Executive Schedule.

(June 19, 1934, ch. 652, title I, §5, 48 Stat. 1068; July 16, 1952, ch. 879, §4, 66 Stat. 712; Pub. L. 87–192, §§1, 2, Aug. 31, 1961, 75 Stat. 420; Pub. L. 96–470, title I, §116, Oct. 19, 1980, 94 Stat. 2240; Pub. L. 97–35, title XII, §1252, Aug. 13, 1981, 95 Stat. 738; Pub. L. 97–259, title I, §105, Sept. 13, 1982, 96 Stat. 1091; Pub. L. 99–272, title V, §5002(c), Apr. 7, 1986, 100 Stat. 118; Pub. L. 100–594, §§4, 8(a), Nov. 3, 1988, 102 Stat. 3021, 3023; Pub. L. 103–414, title III, §303(a)(2), Oct. 25, 1994, 108 Stat. 4294; Pub. L. 104–104, title IV, §403(c), Feb. 8, 1996, 110 Stat. 130.)

References in Text

This chapter, referred to in subsec. (c)(1), was in the original "this Act", meaning act June 19, 1934, ch. 652, 48 Stat. 1064, known as the Communications Act of 1934, which is classified principally to this chapter. For complete classification of this Act to the Code, see section 609 of this title and Tables.

Level V of the Executive Schedule, referred to in subsec. (e), is set out in section 5316 of Title 5, Government Organization and Employees.

Codification

In subsec. (c)(1), (8), "adjudication (as defined in section 551 of title 5)" substituted for "adjudication (as defined in the Administrative Procedure Act)", and in subsec. (c)(1) "section 556(b) of title 5" substituted for references to "section 7(a) of the Administrative Procedure Act", on authority of Pub. L. 89–554, §7(b), Sept. 6, 1966, 80 Stat. 631, the first section of which enacted Title 5, Government Organization and Employees.

Amendments

1996—Subsec. (c)(1). Pub. L. 104–104 inserted last sentence and struck out former last sentence which read as follows: "Nothing in this paragraph shall authorize the Commission to provide for the conduct, by any person or persons other than persons referred to in clauses (2) and (3) of section 556(b) of title 5, of any hearing to which such section 556(b) applies."

1994—Subsecs. (e), (f). Pub. L. 103–414 redesignated subsec. (f) as (e).

1988—Subsec. (c)(1). Pub. L. 100–594, §8(a), inserted "and except any action referred to in sections 204(a)(2), 208(b), and 405(b) of this title" after "and (6) of this subsection" in first sentence.

Subsec. (g). Pub. L. 100–594, §4, struck out subsec. (g) which required an annual report to Congress and specified its contents.

1986—Subsec. (g). Pub. L. 99–272 substituted "March 31" for "January 31".

1982—Subsec. (b). Pub. L. 97–259, §105(a), substituted "From" for "Within six months after July 16, 1952, and from" at beginning of subsection, and struck out "thereafter" after "time to time".

Subsecs. (c) to (e). Pub. L. 97–259, §105(b), (c), redesignated subsecs. (d) and (e) as (c) and (d), respectively, and in par. (1) of subsec. (c), as so redesignated, substituted "two" for "three" after "employee board consisting of".

1981—Subsecs. (f), (g). Pub. L. 97–35 added subsecs. (f) and (g).

1980—Subsec. (e). Pub. L. 96–470 struck out "; and the Commission shall promptly report to the Congress each such case which has been pending before it more than such three- or six-month period, respectively, stating the reasons therefor" after "hearing cases".

1961—Subsec. (c). Pub. L. 87–192, §1, repealed subsec. (c) which provided for establishment of review staff, its composition, responsibility and duties.

Subsec. (d)(1). Pub. L. 87–192, §2, substituted provisions which authorized the delegation of functions by published rule or by order to a panel of commissioners, and individual commissioner, an employee board, or an individual employee, and of review functions to an employee board of three or more employees, enumerated the functions to be delegated, with stated exceptions, and prescribed majority vote for order delegating review functions for former provision which authorized the assignment of reference of work, business or functions by order to an individual commissioner or commissioners or to a board of one or more employees and eliminated provision concerning force, effect and enforcement of orders, now incorporated in par. (3) of this subsection.

Subsec. (d)(2). Pub. L. 87–192, §2, added par. (2). The subject matter was formerly covered by the introductory words of former par. (1) of this subsection which read "Except as provided in section 409 of this title." Sentences 1 and 2 of former par. (2) redesignated pars. (4) and (6), respectively.

Subsec. (d)(3). Pub. L. 87–192, §2, redesignated second sentence of former par. (1) as par. (3) and substituted therein "report, or action made or taken pursuant to any such delegation, unless reviewed as provided in paragraph (4), shall have" and "other actions" for "report made, or other action taken, pursuant to any such order of assignment or reference shall, unless reviewed pursuant to paragraph (2), have" and "action", respectively. Former par. (3) redesignated (9).

Subsec. (d)(4). Pub. L. 87–192, §2, redesignated first sentence of former par. (2) as par. (4), included "action" in enumeration, and inserted provision for review on initiative of the Commission.

Subsec. (d)(5). Pub. L. 87–192, §2, added par. (5).

Subsec. (d)(6). Pub. L. 87–192, §2, redesignated second sentence of former par. (2) as par. (6), inserting "for review" after "applications" and substituting "the Commission", "the order", "it may order" and "in accordance with" for "it", "such order", "may order" and "under", respectively.

Subsec. (d)(7), (8). Pub. L. 87–192, §2, added pars. (7) and (8).

Subsec. (d)(9). Pub. L. 87–192, §2, redesignated former par. (3) as (9) and made it applicable to each panel of the Commission, each employee board instead of each board, and each individual employee.

1952—Act July 16, 1952, amended section generally to provide for the organization of the staff, integrated bureaus, and for a review staff.

§155a. Authority of Chief Information Officer

(a) In general

The Commission shall ensure that the Chief Information Officer of the Commission has a significant role in—

(1) the decision-making process for annual and multi-year planning, programming, budgeting, and execution decisions, related reporting requirements, and reports related to information technology;

(2) the management, governance, and oversight processes related to information technology; and

(3) the hiring of personnel with information technology responsibilities.

(b) CIO approval

The Chief Information Officer of the Commission, in consultation with the Chief Financial Officer of the Commission and budget officials, shall specify and approve the allocation of amounts appropriated to the Commission for information technology, consistent with the provisions of appropriations Acts, budget guidelines, and recommendations from the Director of the Office of Management and Budget.

(Pub. L. 115–141, div. P, title V, §502, Mar. 23, 2018, 132 Stat. 1091.)

Codification

Section was enacted as part of the Repack Airwaves Yielding Better Access for Users of Modern Services Act of 2018, also known as the RAY BAUM'S Act of 2018, and also as part of the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2018, and not as part of the Communications Act of 1934 which comprises this chapter.

Definition

Pub. L. 115–141, div. P, §2, Mar. 23, 2018, 132 Stat. 1081, provided that: "In this division [see Short Title of 2018 Amendment note set out under section 609 of this title], the term 'Commission' means the Federal Communications Commission."

§156. Authorization of appropriations

(a) Authorization

There are authorized to be appropriated to the Commission to carry out the functions of the Commission $333,118,000 for fiscal year 2019 and $339,610,000 for fiscal year 2020.

(b) Offsetting collections

The sum appropriated in any fiscal year to carry out the activities described in subsection (a), to the extent and in the amounts provided for in Appropriations Acts, shall be derived from fees authorized by section 159 of this title.

(June 19, 1934, ch. 652, title I, §6, as added Pub. L. 97–35, title XII, §1251(a), Aug. 13, 1981, 95 Stat. 738; amended Pub. L. 98–214, §2(a), Dec. 8, 1983, 97 Stat. 1467; Pub. L. 99–272, title V, §5002(a)(1), Apr. 7, 1986, 100 Stat. 117; Pub. L. 100–594, §2(a), Nov. 3, 1988, 102 Stat. 3021; Pub. L. 101–396, §2(a), Sept. 28, 1990, 104 Stat. 848; Pub. L. 103–66, title VI, §6003(b), Aug. 10, 1993, 107 Stat. 401; Pub. L. 115–141, div. P, title I, §101(a), Mar. 23, 2018, 132 Stat. 1081.)

Amendments

2018Pub. L. 115–141 amended section generally. Prior to amendment, section related to authorization of appropriations for fiscal years 1990 and 1991.

1993—Subsec. (d). Pub. L. 103–66 added subsec. (d).

1990Pub. L. 101–396 amended section generally. Prior to amendment, section read as follows: "There are authorized to be appropriated for the administration of this chapter by the Commission $107,250,000 for fiscal year 1988 and $109,250,000 for fiscal year 1989, together with such sums as may be necessary for increases resulting from adjustments in salary, pay, retirement, other employee benefits required by law, and other nondiscretionary costs, for each of the fiscal years 1988 and 1989."

1988Pub. L. 100–594 amended section generally. Prior to amendment, section read as follows: "There are authorized to be appropriated for the administration of this chapter by the Commission $98,100,000 for fiscal year 1986 and $97,600,000 for fiscal year 1987, together with such sums as may be necessary for increases resulting from adjustments in salary, pay, retirement, other employee benefits required by law, and other nondiscretionary costs, for each of the fiscal years 1986 and 1987."

1986Pub. L. 99–272 amended section generally. Prior to amendment, section read as follows: "There are authorized to be appropriated for the administration of this chapter by the Commission $91,156,000, together with such sums as may be necessary for increases resulting from adjustments in salary, pay, retirement, other employee benefits required by law, and other nondiscretionary costs, for each of the fiscal years 1984 and 1985."

1983Pub. L. 98–214 substituted provisions authorizing appropriations of $91,156,000 for each of the fiscal years 1984 and 1985 for provisions authorizing appropriations of $76,900,000 for each of the fiscal years 1982 and 1983.

Effective Date of 2018 Amendment

Pub. L. 115–141, div. P, title I, §103, Mar. 23, 2018, 132 Stat. 1086, provided that: "This title [enacting section 159a of this title, amending this section and sections 158, 159, and 309 of this title, enacting provisions set out as notes under sections 158 and 159 of this title, and repealing provisions set out as a note under this section] and the amendments made by this title shall take effect on October 1, 2018."

Effective Date of 1988 Amendment

Pub. L. 100–594, §2(b), Nov. 3, 1988, 102 Stat. 3021, provided that: "The amendment made by subsection (a) of this section [amending this section] shall apply with respect to fiscal years beginning after September 30, 1987."

Effective Date of 1986 Amendment

Pub. L. 99–272, title V, §5002(a)(2), Apr. 7, 1986, 100 Stat. 118, provided that: "The amendment made by paragraph (1) of this subsection [amending this section] shall apply with respect to fiscal years beginning after September 30, 1985."

Effective Date of 1983 Amendment

Pub. L. 98–214, §2(b), Dec. 8, 1983, 97 Stat. 1467, provided that: "The amendment made by subsection (a) [amending this section] shall apply with respect to fiscal years beginning after September 30, 1983."

Authorization of Appropriations

Pub. L. 104–104, title VII, §710(a), (b), Feb. 8, 1996, 110 Stat. 160, which authorized additional appropriations to the Federal Communications Commission, was repealed by Pub. L. 115–141, div. P, title I, §101(c)(1), Mar. 23, 2018, 132 Stat. 1082.

§157. New technologies and services

(a) It shall be the policy of the United States to encourage the provision of new technologies and services to the public. Any person or party (other than the Commission) who opposes a new technology or service proposed to be permitted under this chapter shall have the burden to demonstrate that such proposal is inconsistent with the public interest.

(b) The Commission shall determine whether any new technology or service proposed in a petition or application is in the public interest within one year after such petition or application is filed. If the Commission initiates its own proceeding for a new technology or service, such proceeding shall be completed within 12 months after it is initiated.

(June 19, 1934, ch. 652, title I, §7, as added Pub. L. 98–214, §12, Dec. 8, 1983, 97 Stat. 1471; amended Pub. L. 103–414, title III, §304(a)(1), Oct. 25, 1994, 108 Stat. 4296.)

References in Text

This chapter, referred to in subsec. (a), was in the original "this Act", meaning act June 19, 1934, ch. 652, 48 Stat. 1064, known as the Communications Act of 1934, which is classified principally to this chapter. For complete classification of this Act to the Code, see section 609 of this title and Tables.

Amendments

1994—Subsec. (b). Pub. L. 103–414 struck out "or twelve months after December 8, 1983, if later" after "petition or application is filed" and after "12 months after it is initiated".

Advanced Telecommunications Incentives

Pub. L. 104–104, title VII, §706, Feb. 8, 1996, 110 Stat. 153, as amended by Pub. L. 107–110, title X, §1076(gg), Jan. 8, 2002, 115 Stat. 2093; Pub. L. 110–385, title I, §103(a), Oct. 10, 2008, 122 Stat. 4096, was transferred and is classified to section 1302 of this title.

§158. Application fees

(a) General authority; establishment of schedule

The Commission shall assess and collect application fees at such rates as the Commission shall establish in a schedule of application fees to recover the costs of the Commission to process applications.

(b) Adjustment of schedule

(1) In general

In every even-numbered year, the Commission shall review the schedule of application fees established under this section and, except as provided in paragraph (2), set a new amount for each fee in the schedule that is equal to the amount of the fee on the date when the fee was established or the date when the fee was last amended under subsection (c), whichever is later—

(A) increased or decreased by the percentage change in the Consumer Price Index during the period beginning on such date and ending on the date of the review; and

(B) rounded to the nearest $5 increment.

(2) Threshold for adjustment

The Commission may not adjust a fee under paragraph (1) if—

(A) in the case of a fee the current amount of which is less than $200, the adjustment would result in a change in the current amount of less than $10; or

(B) in the case of a fee the current amount of which is $200 or more, the adjustment would result in a change in the current amount of less than 5 percent.

(3) Current amount defined

In paragraph (2), the term "current amount" means, with respect to a fee, the amount of the fee on the date when the fee was established, the date when the fee was last adjusted under paragraph (1), or the date when the fee was last amended under subsection (c), whichever is latest.

(c) Amendments to schedule

In addition to the adjustments required by subsection (b), the Commission shall by rule amend the schedule of application fees established under this section if the Commission determines that the schedule requires amendment—

(1) so that such fees reflect increases or decreases in the costs of processing applications at the Commission; or

(2) so that such schedule reflects the consolidation or addition of new categories of applications.

(d) Exceptions

(1) Parties to which fees are not applicable

The application fees established under this section shall not be applicable to—

(A) a governmental entity;

(B) a nonprofit entity licensed in the Local Government, Police, Fire, Highway Maintenance, Forestry-Conservation, Public Safety, or Special Emergency Radio radio services; or

(C) a noncommercial radio station or noncommercial television station.

(2) Cost of collection

If, in the judgment of the Commission, the cost of collecting an application fee established under this section would exceed the amount collected, the Commission may by rule eliminate such fee.

(e) Deposit of collections

Moneys received from application fees established under this section shall be deposited in the general fund of the Treasury.

(June 19, 1934, ch. 652, title I, §8, as added Pub. L. 99–272, title V, §5002(e), Apr. 7, 1986, 100 Stat. 118; amended Pub. L. 100–594, §5, Nov. 3, 1988, 102 Stat. 3021; Pub. L. 101–239, title III, §3001(a), (b), Dec. 19, 1989, 103 Stat. 2124, 2131; Pub. L. 102–538, title II, §209, Oct. 27, 1992, 106 Stat. 3544; Pub. L. 103–66, title VI, §6003(a)(2), Aug. 10, 1993, 107 Stat. 401; Pub. L. 103–414, title III, §§302, 303(a)(3), (4), Oct. 25, 1994, 108 Stat. 4294; Pub. L. 115–141, div. P, title I, §102(a), Mar. 23, 2018, 132 Stat. 1082.)

Amendments

2018Pub. L. 115–141 amended section generally. Prior to amendment, section related to application fees.

1994—Subsec. (d)(2). Pub. L. 103–414, §303(a)(3), substituted "payment of an" for "payment of a".

Subsec. (g). Pub. L. 103–414, §303(a)(4), substituted "Additional Application Fee" for "Additional Charge" in item 7.f. under heading "equipment approval services/experimental radio" in Schedule of Application Fees.

Pub. L. 103–414, §302, added item 1.d. under heading "common carrier services" in Schedule of Application Fees.

1993Pub. L. 103–66, §6003(a)(2)(A), substituted "Application fees" for "Charges" as section catchline.

Subsecs. (a) to (e). Pub. L. 103–66, §6003(a)(2)(B)–(D), substituted "application fees" for "charges" and "Schedule of Application Fees" for "Schedule of Charges" wherever appearing, and substituted "application fee" for "charge" in subsec. (c).

Subsec. (g). Pub. L. 103–66, §6003(a)(2)(D), in text substituted "Schedule of Application Fees" for "Schedule of Charges".

Pub. L. 103–66, §6003(a)(2)(E), which directed amendment of schedule by substituting "Schedule of Application Fees" for "Schedule of Charges", "Application fees" for "Charges", "application fee" for "charge", and "Application fees" for "Charges" was executed by substituting "SCHEDULE OF APPLICATION FEES" for "SCHEDULE OF CHARGES" in heading, "miscellaneous application fees" for "miscellaneous charges" in last subheading, and "application fee" for "charge" in two places in text of schedule, to reflect probable intent of Congress.

1992—Subsec. (g). Pub. L. 102–538 in Schedule of Charges added twenty-second category, relating to Low-Earth Orbit Satellite Systems, under heading "common carrier services", and substituted "75.00" for "360.00" in item 3.c., relating to inspection of vessels under the Great Lakes Agreement, under heading "miscellaneous charges".

1989—Subsec. (a). Pub. L. 101–239, §3001(b)(1), struck out at end "The Schedule of Charges established under this subsection shall be implemented not later than 360 days after April 7, 1986."

Subsec. (b)(1). Pub. L. 101–239, §3001(b)(2), substituted "October 1, 1991" for "April 1, 1987".

Subsec. (d)(1). Pub. L. 101–239, §3001(b)(3), substituted "(A) to governmental entities and nonprofit entities licensed in the following radio services:" for "to the following radio services:" and inserted "(B)" after "Emergency Radio, or".

Subsec. (g). Pub. L. 101–239, §3001(a), added subsec. (g).

1988—Subsec. (b)(1). Pub. L. 100–594 substituted "two years after April 1, 1987," for "two years after April 7, 1986,".

Effective Date of 2018 Amendment

Amendment by Pub. L. 115–141 effective Oct. 1, 2018, see section 103 of div. P of Pub. L. 115–141, set out as a note under section 156 of this title.

Effective Date of 1989 Amendment

Pub. L. 101–239, title III, §3001(c), Dec. 19, 1989, 103 Stat. 2131, provided that: "The amendments made by this section [amending this section] shall take effect on the date of enactment of this Act [Dec. 19, 1989], and the Schedule of Charges required by the amendment made by subsection (a) of this section shall be implemented not later than 150 days after the date of enactment of this Act."

Transitional Rules for Application Fees

Pub. L. 115–141, div. P, title I, §102(d)(1), Mar. 23, 2018, 132 Stat. 1085, provided that: "An application fee established under section 8 of the Communications Act of 1934 [47 U.S.C. 158], as such section is in effect on the day before the effective date described in section 103 of this title [Oct. 1, 2018], shall remain in effect under section 8 of the Communications Act of 1934, as amended by subsection (a) of this section, until such time as the Commission [Federal Communications Commission] adjusts or amends such fee under subsection (b) or (c) of such section 8, as so amended."

Schedule of Charges

Section 5002(f) of Pub. L. 99–272 established the Schedule of Charges which the Federal Communications Commission is required to prescribe pursuant to subsec. (a) of this section. See subsec. (g) of this section as added by Pub. L. 101–239.

§159. Regulatory fees

(a) General authority

The Commission shall assess and collect regulatory fees to recover the costs of carrying out the activities described in section 156(a) of this title only to the extent, and in the total amounts, provided for in Appropriations Acts.

(b) Establishment of schedule

The Commission shall assess and collect regulatory fees at such rates as the Commission shall establish in a schedule of regulatory fees that will result in the collection, in each fiscal year, of an amount that can reasonably be expected to equal the amounts described in subsection (a) with respect to such fiscal year.

(c) Adjustment of schedule

(1) In general

For each fiscal year, the Commission shall by rule adjust the schedule of regulatory fees established under this section to—

(A) reflect unexpected increases or decreases in the number of units subject to the payment of such fees; and

(B) result in the collection of the amount required by subsection (b).

(2) Rounding

In making adjustments under this subsection, the Commission may round fees to the nearest $5 increment.

(d) Amendments to schedule

In addition to the adjustments required by subsection (c), the Commission shall by rule amend the schedule of regulatory fees established under this section if the Commission determines that the schedule requires amendment so that such fees reflect the full-time equivalent number of employees within the bureaus and offices of the Commission, adjusted to take into account factors that are reasonably related to the benefits provided to the payor of the fee by the Commission's activities. In making an amendment under this subsection, the Commission may not change the total amount of regulatory fees required by subsection (b) to be collected in a fiscal year.

(e) Exceptions

(1) Parties to which fees are not applicable

The regulatory fees established under this section shall not be applicable to—

(A) a governmental entity or nonprofit entity;

(B) an amateur radio operator licensee under part 97 of the Commission's rules (47 CFR part 97); or

(C) a noncommercial radio station or noncommercial television station.

(2) Cost of collection

If, in the judgment of the Commission, the cost of collecting a regulatory fee established under this section from a party would exceed the amount collected from such party, the Commission may exempt such party from paying such fee.

(f) Deposit of collections

(1) In general

Amounts received from fees authorized by this section shall be deposited as an offsetting collection in, and credited to, the account through which funds are made available to carry out the activities described in section 156(a) of this title.

(2) Deposit of excess collections

Any regulatory fees collected in excess of the total amount of fees provided for in Appropriations Acts for a fiscal year shall be deposited in the general fund of the Treasury of the United States for the sole purpose of deficit reduction.

(June 19, 1934, ch. 652, title I, §9, as added Pub. L. 103–66, title VI, §6003(a)(1), Aug. 10, 1993, 107 Stat. 397; amended Pub. L. 103–121, title I, Oct. 27, 1993, 107 Stat. 1167; Pub. L. 103–414, title III, §303(a)(5), (6), Oct. 25, 1994, 108 Stat. 4294; Pub. L. 115–141, div. P, title I, §102(b), Mar. 23, 2018, 132 Stat. 1083.)

Amendments

2018Pub. L. 115–141 amended section generally. Prior to amendment, section related to regulatory fees.

1994—Subsec. (f). Pub. L. 103–414, §303(a)(5), designated second sentence of par. (1) as par. (2) and inserted par. (2) heading.

Subsec. (g). Pub. L. 103–414, §303(a)(6), inserted "95" after "(47 C.F.R. Part" in item pertaining to Interactive Video Data Service under Private Radio Bureau in Schedule of Regulatory Fees.

1993—Subsec. (a). Pub. L. 103–121 designated existing provisions as par. (1), inserted heading, and added par. (2).

Effective Date of 2018 Amendment

Amendment by Pub. L. 115–141 effective Oct. 1, 2018, see section 103 of div. P of Pub. L. 115–141, set out as a note under section 156 of this title.

Continued Applicability of Regulatory Fees

Pub. L. 115–141, div. P, title I, §102(d)(2), Mar. 23, 2018, 132 Stat. 1086, provided that: "A regulatory fee established under section 9 of the Communications Act of 1934 [47 U.S.C. 159], as such section is in effect on the day before the effective date described in section 103 of this title [Oct. 1, 2018], shall remain in effect under section 9 of the Communications Act of 1934, as amended by subsection (b) of this section, until such time as the Commission [Federal Communications Commission] adjusts or amends such fee under subsection (c) or (d) of such section 9, as so amended."

Rulemaking To Amend Schedule of Regulatory Fees

Pub. L. 115–141, div. P, title I, §102(e)(1), Mar. 23, 2018, 132 Stat. 1086, provided that: "Not later than 1 year after the effective date described in section 103 of this title [Oct. 1, 2018], the Commission [Federal Communications Commission] shall complete a rulemaking proceeding under subsection (d) of section 9 of the Communications Act of 1934 [47 U.S.C. 159], as amended by subsection (b) of this section."

§159a. Provisions applicable to application and regulatory fees

(a) Judicial review prohibited

Any adjustment or amendment to a schedule of fees under subsection (b) or (c) of section 158 of this title or subsection (c) or (d) of section 159 of this title is not subject to judicial review.

(b) Notice to Congress

The Commission shall transmit to Congress notification—

(1) of any adjustment under section 158(b) or 159(c) of this title immediately upon the adoption of such adjustment; and

(2) of any amendment under section 158(c) or 159(d) of this title not later than 90 days before the effective date of such amendment.

(c) Enforcement

(1) Penalties for late payment

The Commission shall by rule prescribe an additional penalty for late payment of fees under section 158 or 159 of this title. Such additional penalty shall be 25 percent of the amount of the fee that was not paid in a timely manner.

(2) Interest on unpaid fees and penalties

The Commission shall charge interest, at a rate determined under section 3717 of title 31, on a fee under section 158 or 159 of this title or an additional penalty under this subsection that is not paid in a timely manner. Such section 3717 shall not otherwise apply with respect to such a fee or penalty.

(3) Dismissal of applications or filings

The Commission may dismiss any application or other filing for failure to pay in a timely manner any fee under section 158 or 159 of this title or any interest or additional penalty under this subsection.

(4) Revocations

(A) In general

In addition to or in lieu of the penalties and dismissals authorized by this subsection, the Commission may revoke any instrument of authorization held by any licensee that has not paid in a timely manner a regulatory fee assessed under section 159 of this title or any related interest or penalty.

(B) Notice

Revocation action may be taken by the Commission under this paragraph after notice of the Commission's intent to take such action is sent to the licensee by registered mail, return receipt requested, at the licensee's last known address. The notice shall provide the licensee at least 30 days to either pay the fee, interest, and any penalty or show cause why the fee, interest, or penalty does not apply to the licensee or should otherwise be waived or payment deferred.

(C) Hearing

(i) Generally not required

A hearing is not required under this paragraph unless the licensee's response presents a substantial and material question of fact.

(ii) Evidence and burdens

In any case where a hearing is conducted under this paragraph, the hearing shall be based on written evidence only, and the burden of proceeding with the introduction of evidence and the burden of proof shall be on the licensee.

(iii) Costs

Unless the licensee substantially prevails in the hearing, the Commission may assess the licensee for the costs of such hearing.

(D) Opportunity to pay prior to revocation

Any Commission order adopted under this paragraph shall determine the amount due, if any, and provide the licensee with at least 30 days to pay that amount or have its authorization revoked.

(E) Finality

No order of revocation under this paragraph shall become final until the licensee has exhausted its right to judicial review of such order under section 402(b)(5) of this title.

(d) Waiver, reduction, and deferment

The Commission may waive, reduce, or defer payment of a fee under section 158 or 159 of this title or an interest charge or penalty under this section in any specific instance for good cause shown, where such action would promote the public interest.

(e) Payment rules

The Commission shall by rule permit payment—

(1) in the case of fees under section 158 or 159 of this title in large amounts, by installments; and

(2) in the case of fees under section 158 or 159 of this title in small amounts, in advance for a number of years not to exceed the term of the license held by the payor.

(f) Accounting system

The Commission shall develop accounting systems necessary to make the amendments authorized by sections 158(c) and 159(d) of this title.

(June 19, 1934, ch. 652, title I, §9A, as added Pub. L. 115–141, div. P, title I, §102(c), Mar. 23, 2018, 132 Stat. 1084.)

Effective Date

Section effective Oct. 1, 2018, see section 103 of div. P of Pub. L. 115–141, set out as an Effective Date of 2018 Amendment note under section 156 of this title.

§160. Competition in provision of telecommunications service

(a) Regulatory flexibility

Notwithstanding section 332(c)(1)(A) of this title, the Commission shall forbear from applying any regulation or any provision of this chapter to a telecommunications carrier or telecommunications service, or class of telecommunications carriers or telecommunications services, in any or some of its or their geographic markets, if the Commission determines that—

(1) enforcement of such regulation or provision is not necessary to ensure that the charges, practices, classifications, or regulations by, for, or in connection with that telecommunications carrier or telecommunications service are just and reasonable and are not unjustly or unreasonably discriminatory;

(2) enforcement of such regulation or provision is not necessary for the protection of consumers; and

(3) forbearance from applying such provision or regulation is consistent with the public interest.

(b) Competitive effect to be weighed

In making the determination under subsection (a)(3), the Commission shall consider whether forbearance from enforcing the provision or regulation will promote competitive market conditions, including the extent to which such forbearance will enhance competition among providers of telecommunications services. If the Commission determines that such forbearance will promote competition among providers of telecommunications services, that determination may be the basis for a Commission finding that forbearance is in the public interest.

(c) Petition for forbearance

Any telecommunications carrier, or class of telecommunications carriers, may submit a petition to the Commission requesting that the Commission exercise the authority granted under this section with respect to that carrier or those carriers, or any service offered by that carrier or carriers. Any such petition shall be deemed granted if the Commission does not deny the petition for failure to meet the requirements for forbearance under subsection (a) within one year after the Commission receives it, unless the one-year period is extended by the Commission. The Commission may extend the initial one-year period by an additional 90 days if the Commission finds that an extension is necessary to meet the requirements of subsection (a). The Commission may grant or deny a petition in whole or in part and shall explain its decision in writing.

(d) Limitation

Except as provided in section 251(f) of this title, the Commission may not forbear from applying the requirements of section 251(c) or 271 of this title under subsection (a) of this section until it determines that those requirements have been fully implemented.

(e) State enforcement after Commission forbearance

A State commission may not continue to apply or enforce any provision of this chapter that the Commission has determined to forbear from applying under subsection (a).

(June 19, 1934, ch. 652, title I, §10, as added Pub. L. 104–104, title IV, §401, Feb. 8, 1996, 110 Stat. 128.)

References in Text

This chapter, referred to in subsecs. (a) and (e), was in the original "this Act", meaning act June 19, 1934, ch. 652, 48 Stat. 1064, known as the Communications Act of 1934, which is classified principally to this chapter. For complete classification of this Act to the Code, see section 609 of this title and Tables.

§161. Regulatory reform

(a) Biennial review of regulations

In every even-numbered year (beginning with 1998), the Commission—

(1) shall review all regulations issued under this chapter in effect at the time of the review that apply to the operations or activities of any provider of telecommunications service; and

(2) shall determine whether any such regulation is no longer necessary in the public interest as the result of meaningful economic competition between providers of such service.

(b) Effect of determination

The Commission shall repeal or modify any regulation it determines to be no longer necessary in the public interest.

(June 19, 1934, ch. 652, title I, §11, as added Pub. L. 104–104, title IV, §402(a), Feb. 8, 1996, 110 Stat. 129.)

References in Text

This chapter, referred to in subsec. (a)(1), was in the original "this Act", meaning act June 19, 1934, ch. 652, 48 Stat. 1064, known as the Communications Act of 1934, which is classified principally to this chapter. For complete classification of this Act to the Code, see section 609 of this title and Tables.

§162. Additional research authorities of the FCC

In order to carry out the purposes of this chapter, the Commission may—

(1) undertake research and development work in connection with any matter in relation to which the Commission has jurisdiction; and

(2) promote the carrying out of such research and development by others, or otherwise to arrange for such research and development to be carried out by others.

(June 19, 1934, ch. 652, title I, §12, as added Pub. L. 111–358, title VIII, §803, Jan. 4, 2011, 124 Stat. 4043.)

References in Text

This chapter, referred to in text, was in the original "this Act", meaning act June 19, 1934, ch. 652, 48 Stat. 1064, known as the Communications Act of 1934, which is classified principally to this chapter. For complete classification of this Act to the Code, see section 609 of this title and Tables.

§163. Communications marketplace report

(a) In general

In the last quarter of every even-numbered year, the Commission shall publish on its website and submit to the Committee on Energy and Commerce of the House of Representatives and the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation of the Senate a report on the state of the communications marketplace.

(b) Contents

Each report required by subsection (a) shall—

(1) assess the state of competition in the communications marketplace, including competition to deliver voice, video, audio, and data services among providers of telecommunications, providers of commercial mobile service (as defined in section 332 of this title), multichannel video programming distributors (as defined in section 522 of this title), broadcast stations, providers of satellite communications, Internet service providers, and other providers of communications services;

(2) assess the state of deployment of communications capabilities, including advanced telecommunications capability (as defined in section 1302 of this title), regardless of the technology used for such deployment;

(3) assess whether laws, regulations, regulatory practices (whether those of the Federal Government, States, political subdivisions of States, Indian tribes or tribal organizations (as such terms are defined in section 5304 of title 25), or foreign governments), or demonstrated marketplace practices pose a barrier to competitive entry into the communications marketplace or to the competitive expansion of existing providers of communications services;

(4) describe the agenda of the Commission for the next 2-year period for addressing the challenges and opportunities in the communications marketplace that were identified through the assessments under paragraphs (1) through (3); and

(5) describe the actions that the Commission has taken in pursuit of the agenda described pursuant to paragraph (4) in the previous report submitted under this section.

(c) Extension

If the President designates a Commissioner as Chairman of the Commission during the last quarter of an even-numbered year, the portion of the report required by subsection (b)(4) may be published on the website of the Commission and submitted to the Committee on Energy and Commerce of the House of Representatives and the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation of the Senate as an addendum during the first quarter of the following odd-numbered year.

(d) Special requirements

(1) Assessing competition

In assessing the state of competition under subsection (b)(1), the Commission shall consider all forms of competition, including the effect of intermodal competition, facilities-based competition, and competition from new and emergent communications services, including the provision of content and communications using the Internet.

(2) Assessing deployment

In assessing the state of deployment under subsection (b)(2), the Commission shall compile a list of geographical areas that are not served by any provider of advanced telecommunications capability.

(3) Considering small businesses

In assessing the state of competition under subsection (b)(1) and regulatory barriers under subsection (b)(3), the Commission shall consider market entry barriers for entrepreneurs and other small businesses in the communications marketplace in accordance with the national policy under section 257(b) of this title.

(June 19, 1934, ch. 652, title I, §13, as added Pub. L. 115–141, div. P, title IV, §401, Mar. 23, 2018, 132 Stat. 1087.)

SUBCHAPTER II—COMMON CARRIERS

Part I—Common Carrier Regulation

§201. Service and charges

(a) It shall be the duty of every common carrier engaged in interstate or foreign communication by wire or radio to furnish such communication service upon reasonable request therefor; and, in accordance with the orders of the Commission, in cases where the Commission, after opportunity for hearing, finds such action necessary or desirable in the public interest, to establish physical connections with other carriers, to establish through routes and charges applicable thereto and the divisions of such charges, and to establish and provide facilities and regulations for operating such through routes.

(b) All charges, practices, classifications, and regulations for and in connection with such communication service, shall be just and reasonable, and any such charge, practice, classification, or regulation that is unjust or unreasonable is declared to be unlawful: Provided, That communications by wire or radio subject to this chapter may be classified into day, night, repeated, unrepeated, letter, commercial, press, Government, and such other classes as the Commission may decide to be just and reasonable, and different charges may be made for the different classes of communications: Provided further, That nothing in this chapter or in any other provision of law shall be construed to prevent a common carrier subject to this chapter from entering into or operating under any contract with any common carrier not subject to this chapter, for the exchange of their services, if the Commission is of the opinion that such contract is not contrary to the public interest: Provided further, That nothing in this chapter or in any other provision of law shall prevent a common carrier subject to this chapter from furnishing reports of positions of ships at sea to newspapers of general circulation, either at a nominal charge or without charge, provided the name of such common carrier is displayed along with such ship position reports. The Commission may prescribe such rules and regulations as may be necessary in the public interest to carry out the provisions of this chapter.

(June 19, 1934, ch. 652, title II, §201, 48 Stat. 1070; May 31, 1938, ch. 296, 52 Stat. 588.)

References in Text

This chapter, referred to in subsec. (b), was in the original "this Act", meaning act June 19, 1934, ch. 652, 48 Stat. 1064, known as the Communications Act of 1934, which is classified principally to this chapter. For complete classification of this Act to the Code, see section 609 of this title and Tables.

Amendments

1938—Subsec. (b). Act May 31, 1938, inserted proviso relating to reports of positions of ships at sea.

Telephone Rates for Members of Armed Forces Deployed Abroad

Pub. L. 109–459, §2, Dec. 22, 2006, 120 Stat. 3399, provided that:

"(a) In General.—The Federal Communications Commission shall take such action as may be necessary to reduce the cost of calling home for Armed Forces personnel who are stationed outside the United States under official military orders or deployed outside the United States in support of military operations, training exercises, or other purposes as approved by the Secretary of Defense, including the reduction of such costs through the waiver of government fees, assessments, or other charges for such calls. The Commission may not regulate rates in order to carry out this section.

"(b) Factors To Consider.—In taking the action described in subsection (a), the Commission, in coordination with the Department of Defense and the Department of State, shall—

"(1) evaluate and analyze the costs to Armed Forces personnel of such telephone calls to and from American military bases abroad;

"(2) evaluate methods of reducing the rates imposed on such calls, including deployment of new technology such as voice over Internet protocol or other Internet protocol technology;

"(3) encourage telecommunications carriers (as defined in section 3(44) of the Communications Act of 1934 (47 U.S.C. 153(44) [now 153(51)])) to adopt flexible billing procedures and policies for Armed Forces personnel and their dependents for telephone calls to and from such Armed Forces personnel; and

"(4) seek agreements with foreign governments to reduce international surcharges on such telephone calls.

"(c) Definitions.—In this section:

"(1) Armed forces.—The term 'Armed Forces' has the meaning given that term by section 2101(2) of title 5, United States Code.

"(2) Military base.—The term 'military base' includes official duty stations to include vessels, whether such vessels are in port or underway outside of the United States."

Pub. L. 102–538, title II, §213, Oct. 27, 1992, 106 Stat. 3545, which required the Federal Communications Commission to make efforts to reduce telephone rates for Armed Forces personnel in certain countries, was repealed by Pub. L. 109–459, §3, Dec. 22, 2006, 120 Stat. 3400.

§202. Discriminations and preferences

(a) Charges, services, etc.

It shall be unlawful for any common carrier to make any unjust or unreasonable discrimination in charges, practices, classifications, regulations, facilities, or services for or in connection with like communication service, directly or indirectly, by any means or device, or to make or give any undue or unreasonable preference or advantage to any particular person, class of persons, or locality, or to subject any particular person, class of persons, or locality to any undue or unreasonable prejudice or disadvantage.

(b) Charges or services included

Charges or services, whenever referred to in this chapter, include charges for, or services in connection with, the use of common carrier lines of communication, whether derived from wire or radio facilities, in chain broadcasting or incidental to radio communication of any kind.

(c) Penalty

Any carrier who knowingly violates the provisions of this section shall forfeit to the United States the sum of $6,000 for each such offense and $300 for each and every day of the continuance of such offense.

(June 19, 1934, ch. 652, title II, §202, 48 Stat. 1070; Pub. L. 86–751, Sept. 13, 1960, 74 Stat. 888; Pub. L. 101–239, title III, §3002(a), Dec. 19, 1989, 103 Stat. 2131.)

References in Text

This chapter, referred to in subsec. (b), was in the original "this Act", meaning act June 19, 1934, ch. 652, 48 Stat. 1064, known as the Communications Act of 1934, which is classified principally to this chapter. For complete classification of this Act to the Code, see section 609 of this title and Tables.

Amendments

1989—Subsec. (c). Pub. L. 101–239 substituted "$6,000" for "$500" and "$300" for "$25".

1960—Subsec. (b). Pub. L. 86–751 substituted "common carrier lines of communication, whether derived from wire or radio facilities," for "wires".

§203. Schedules of charges

(a) Filing; public display

Every common carrier, except connecting carriers, shall, within such reasonable time as the Commission shall designate, file with the Commission and print and keep open for public inspection schedules showing all charges for itself and its connecting carriers for interstate and foreign wire or radio communication between the different points on its own system, and between points on its own system and points on the system of its connecting carriers or points on the system of any other carrier subject to this chapter when a through route has been established, whether such charges are joint or separate, and showing the classifications, practices, and regulations affecting such charges. Such schedules shall contain such other information, and be printed in such form, and be posted and kept open for public inspection in such places, as the Commission may by regulation require, and each such schedule shall give notice of its effective date; and such common carrier shall furnish such schedules to each of its connecting carriers, and such connecting carriers shall keep such schedules open for inspection in such public places as the Commission may require.

(b) Changes in schedule; discretion of Commission to modify requirements

(1) No change shall be made in the charges, classifications, regulations, or practices which have been so filed and published except after one hundred and twenty days notice to the Commission and to the public, which shall be published in such form and contain such information as the Commission may by regulations prescribe.

(2) The Commission may, in its discretion and for good cause shown, modify any requirement made by or under the authority of this section either in particular instances or by general order applicable to special circumstances or conditions except that the Commission may not require the notice period specified in paragraph (1) to be more than one hundred and twenty days.

(c) Overcharges and rebates

No carrier, unless otherwise provided by or under authority of this chapter, shall engage or participate in such communication unless schedules have been filed and published in accordance with the provisions of this chapter and with the regulations made thereunder; and no carrier shall (1) charge, demand, collect, or receive a greater or less or different compensation for such communication, or for any service in connection therewith, between the points named in any such schedule than the charges specified in the schedule then in effect, or (2) refund or remit by any means or device any portion of the charges so specified, or (3) extend to any person any privileges or facilities in such communication, or employ or enforce any classifications, regulations, or practices affecting such charges, except as specified in such schedule.

(d) Rejection or refusal

The Commission may reject and refuse to file any schedule entered for filing which does not provide and give lawful notice of its effective date. Any schedule so rejected by the Commission shall be void and its use shall be unlawful.

(e) Penalty for violations

In case of failure or refusal on the part of any carrier to comply with the provisions of this section or of any regulation or order made by the Commission thereunder, such carrier shall forfeit to the United States the sum of $6,000 for each such offense, and $300 for each and every day of the continuance of such offense.

(June 19, 1934, ch. 652, title II, §203, 48 Stat. 1070; Pub. L. 94–376, §1, Aug. 4, 1976, 90 Stat. 1080; Pub. L. 101–239, title III, §3002(b), Dec. 19, 1989, 103 Stat. 2131; Pub. L. 101–396, §7, Sept. 28, 1990, 104 Stat. 850.)

References in Text

This chapter, referred to in subsecs. (a) and (c), was in the original "this Act", meaning act June 19, 1934, ch. 652, 48 Stat. 1064, known as the Communications Act of 1934, which is classified principally to this chapter. For complete classification of this Act to the Code, see section 609 of this title and Tables.

Amendments

1990—Subsec. (b). Pub. L. 101–396 substituted "one hundred and twenty days" for "ninety days" in pars. (1) and (2).

1989—Subsec. (e). Pub. L. 101–239 substituted "$6,000" for "$500" and "$300" for "$25".

1976—Subsec. (b). Pub. L. 94–376 designated existing provisions as par. (1), substituted "after ninety days notice" for "after thirty days' notice", and struck out provision that the Commission may, in its discretion and for good cause shown, modify the requirements made by or under authority of this section in particular instances or by a general order applicable to special circumstances or conditions, and added par. (2).

§204. Hearings on new charges; suspension pending hearing; refunds; duration of hearing; appeal of order concluding hearing

(a)(1) Whenever there is filed with the Commission any new or revised charge, classification, regulation, or practice, the Commission may either upon complaint or upon its own initiative without complaint, upon reasonable notice, enter upon a hearing concerning the lawfulness thereof; and pending such hearing and the decision thereon the Commission, upon delivering to the carrier or carriers affected thereby a statement in writing of its reasons for such suspension, may suspend the operation of such charge, classification, regulation, or practice, in whole or in part but not for a longer period than five months beyond the time when it would otherwise go into effect; and after full hearing the Commission may make such order with reference thereto as would be proper in a proceeding initiated after such charge, classification, regulation, or practice had become effective. If the proceeding has not been concluded and an order made within the period of the suspension, the proposed new or revised charge, classification, regulation, or practice shall go into effect at the end of such period; but in case of a proposed charge for a new service or a revised charge, the Commission may by order require the interested carrier or carriers to keep accurate account of all amounts received by reason of such charge for a new service or revised charge, specifying by whom and in whose behalf such amounts are paid, and upon completion of the hearing and decision may by further order require the interested carrier or carriers to refund, with interest, to the persons in whose behalf such amounts were paid, such portion of such charge for a new service or revised charges as by its decision shall be found not justified. At any hearing involving a new or revised charge, or a proposed new or revised charge, the burden of proof to show that the new or revised charge, or proposed charge, is just and reasonable shall be upon the carrier, and the Commission shall give to the hearing and decision of such questions preference over all other questions pending before it and decide the same as speedily as possible.

(2)(A) Except as provided in subparagraph (B), the Commission shall, with respect to any hearing under this section, issue an order concluding such hearing within 5 months after the date that the charge, classification, regulation, or practice subject to the hearing becomes effective.

(B) The Commission shall, with respect to any such hearing initiated prior to November 3, 1988, issue an order concluding the hearing not later than 12 months after November 3, 1988.

(C) Any order concluding a hearing under this section shall be a final order and may be appealed under section 402(a) of this title.

(3) A local exchange carrier may file with the Commission a new or revised charge, classification, regulation, or practice on a streamlined basis. Any such charge, classification, regulation, or practice shall be deemed lawful and shall be effective 7 days (in the case of a reduction in rates) or 15 days (in the case of an increase in rates) after the date on which it is filed with the Commission unless the Commission takes action under paragraph (1) before the end of that 7-day or 15-day period, as is appropriate.

(b) Notwithstanding the provisions of subsection (a) of this section, the Commission may allow part of a charge, classification, regulation, or practice to go into effect, based upon a written showing by the carrier or carriers affected, and an opportunity for written comment thereon by affected persons, that such partial authorization is just, fair, and reasonable. Additionally, or in combination with a partial authorization, the Commission, upon a similar showing, may allow all or part of a charge, classification, regulation, or practice to go into effect on a temporary basis pending further order of the Commission. Authorizations of temporary new or increased charges may include an accounting order of the type provided for in subsection (a).

(June 19, 1934, ch. 652, title II, §204, 48 Stat. 1071; Pub. L. 94–376, §2, Aug. 4, 1976, 90 Stat. 1080; Pub. L. 100–594, §8(b), Nov. 3, 1988, 102 Stat. 3023; Pub. L. 102–538, title II, §203, Oct. 27, 1992, 106 Stat. 3542; Pub. L. 104–104, title IV, §402(b)(1)(A), Feb. 8, 1996, 110 Stat. 129.)

Amendments

1996—Subsec. (a)(2)(A). Pub. L. 104–104, §402(b)(1)(A)(i), (ii), substituted "such hearing within 5 months" for "such hearing within 12 months" and struck out before period at end ", or within 15 months after such date if the hearing raises questions of fact of such extraordinary complexity that the questions cannot be resolved within 12 months".

Subsec. (a)(3). Pub. L. 104–104, §402(b)(1)(A)(iii), added par. (3).

1992—Subsec. (a)(1). Pub. L. 102–538 substituted "a revised charge" for "an increased charge" after "a proposed charge for a new service or", "or revised" for "or increased" before "charge, specifying by whom and in whose behalf", "revised charges" for "increased charges" before "as by its decision shall be found not justified", "new or revised charge, or a proposed new or revised charge" for "charge increased, or sought to be increased" before ", burden of proof to show", and "new or revised charge" for "increased charge" before ", or proposed charge, is just and reasonable".

1988—Subsec. (a). Pub. L. 100–594 designated existing provisions as par. (1) and added par. (2).

1976—Subsec. (a). Pub. L. 94–376 designated existing provisions as subsec. (a), substituted "any new or revised charge" for "any new charge", "in whole or in part but not for a longer period than five months" for "but not for a longer period than three months", "after such charge, classification, regulation, or practice had become effective" for "after it had become effective", "the proposed new or revised charge" for "the proposed change of charge", "but in case of a proposed charge for a new service or an increased charge" for "but in case of a proposed increased charge", "by reason of such charge for a new service or increased charge" for "by reason of such increase", "such portion of such charge for a new service or increased charges" for "such portion of such increased charges", "burden of proof to show that the increased charge, or proposed charge" for "burden of proof to show that the increased charge, or proposed increased charge", and struck out "after the organization of the Commission" before "the burden of proof."

Subsec. (b). Pub. L. 94–376 added subsec. (b).

Effective Date of 1996 Amendment

Pub. L. 104–104, title IV, §402(b)(4), Feb. 8, 1996, 110 Stat. 129, provided that: "The amendments made by paragraph (1) of this subsection [amending this section and section 208 of this title] shall apply with respect to any charge, classification, regulation, or practice filed on or after one year after the date of enactment of this Act [Feb. 8, 1996]."

Forbearance Authority Not Limited

Pub. L. 104–104, title IV, §402(b)(3), Feb. 8, 1996, 110 Stat. 129, provided that: "Nothing in this subsection [amending this section and section 208 of this title and enacting provisions set out as notes under this section and section 214 of this title] shall be construed to limit the authority of the Commission to waive, modify, or forbear from applying any of the requirements to which reference is made in paragraph (1) [amending this section and section 208 of this title] under any other provision of this Act [see Short Title of 1996 Amendment note set out under section 609 of this title] or other law."

§205. Commission authorized to prescribe just and reasonable charges; penalties for violations

(a) Whenever, after full opportunity for hearing, upon a complaint or under an order for investigation and hearing made by the Commission on its own initiative, the Commission shall be of opinion that any charge, classification, regulation, or practice of any carrier or carriers is or will be in violation of any of the provisions of this chapter, the Commission is authorized and empowered to determine and prescribe what will be the just and reasonable charge or the maximum or minimum, or maximum and minimum, charge or charges to be thereafter observed, and what classification, regulation, or practice is or will be just, fair, and reasonable, to be thereafter followed, and to make an order that the carrier or carriers shall cease and desist from such violation to the extent that the Commission finds that the same does or will exist, and shall not thereafter publish, demand, or collect any charge other than the charge so prescribed, or in excess of the maximum or less than the minimum so prescribed, as the case may be, and shall adopt the classification and shall conform to and observe the regulation or practice so prescribed.

(b) Any carrier, any officer, representative, or agent of a carrier, or any receiver, trustee, lessee, or agent of either of them, who knowingly fails or neglects to obey any order made under the provisions of this section shall forfeit to the United States the sum of $12,000 for each offense. Every distinct violation shall be a separate offense, and in case of continuing violation each day shall be deemed a separate offense.

(June 19, 1934, ch. 652, title II, §205, 48 Stat. 1072; Pub. L. 101–239, title III, §3002(c), Dec. 19, 1989, 103 Stat. 2131.)

References in Text

This chapter, referred to in subsec. (a), was in the original "this Act", meaning act June 19, 1934, ch. 652, 48 Stat. 1064, known as the Communications Act of 1934, which is classified principally to this chapter. For complete classification of this Act to the Code, see section 609 of this title and Tables.

Amendments

1989—Subsec. (b). Pub. L. 101–239 substituted "$12,000" for "$1,000".

§206. Carriers' liability for damages

In case any common carrier shall do, or cause or permit to be done, any act, matter, or thing in this chapter prohibited or declared to be unlawful, or shall omit to do any act, matter, or thing in this chapter required to be done, such common carrier shall be liable to the person or persons injured thereby for the full amount of damages sustained in consequence of any such violation of the provisions of this chapter, together with a reasonable counsel or attorney's fee, to be fixed by the court in every case of recovery, which attorney's fee shall be taxed and collected as part of the costs in the case.

(June 19, 1934, ch. 652, title II, §206, 48 Stat. 1072.)

References in Text

This chapter, referred to in text, was in the original "this Act", meaning act June 19, 1934, ch. 652, 48 Stat. 1064, known as the Communications Act of 1934, which is classified principally to this chapter. For complete classification of this Act to the Code, see section 609 of this title and Tables.

§207. Recovery of damages

Any person claiming to be damaged by any common carrier subject to the provisions of this chapter may either make complaint to the Commission as hereinafter provided for, or may bring suit for the recovery of the damages for which such common carrier may be liable under the provisions of this chapter, in any district court of the United States of competent jurisdiction; but such person shall not have the right to pursue both such remedies.

(June 19, 1934, ch. 652, title II, §207, 48 Stat. 1073.)

References in Text

This chapter, referred to in text, was in the original "this Act", meaning act June 19, 1934, ch. 652, 48 Stat. 1064, known as the Communications Act of 1934, which is classified principally to this chapter. For complete classification of this Act to the Code, see section 609 of this title and Tables.

§208. Complaints to Commission; investigations; duration of investigation; appeal of order concluding investigation

(a) Any person, any body politic, or municipal organization, or State commission, complaining of anything done or omitted to be done by any common carrier subject to this chapter, in contravention of the provisions thereof, may apply to said Commission by petition which shall briefly state the facts, whereupon a statement of the complaint thus made shall be forwarded by the Commission to such common carrier, who shall be called upon to satisfy the complaint or to answer the same in writing within a reasonable time to be specified by the Commission. If such common carrier within the time specified shall make reparation for the injury alleged to have been caused, the common carrier shall be relieved of liability to the complainant only for the particular violation of law thus complained of. If such carrier or carriers shall not satisfy the complaint within the time specified or there shall appear to be any reasonable ground for investigating said complaint, it shall be the duty of the Commission to investigate the matters complained of in such manner and by such means as it shall deem proper. No complaint shall at any time be dismissed because of the absence of direct damage to the complaint.

(b)(1) Except as provided in paragraph (2), the Commission shall, with respect to any investigation under this section of the lawfulness of a charge, classification, regulation, or practice, issue an order concluding such investigation within 5 months after the date on which the complaint was filed.

(2) The Commission shall, with respect to any such investigation initiated prior to November 3, 1988, issue an order concluding the investigation not later than 12 months after November 3, 1988.

(3) Any order concluding an investigation under paragraph (1) or (2) shall be a final order and may be appealed under section 402(a) of this title.

(June 19, 1934, ch. 652, title II, §208, 48 Stat. 1073; Pub. L. 100–594, §8(c), Nov. 3, 1988, 102 Stat. 3023; Pub. L. 104–104, title IV, §402(b)(1)(B), Feb. 8, 1996, 110 Stat. 129.)

References in Text

This chapter, referred to in subsec. (a), was in the original "this Act", meaning act June 19, 1934, ch. 652, 48 Stat. 1064, known as the Communications Act of 1934, which is classified principally to this chapter. For complete classification of this Act to the Code, see section 609 of this title and Tables.

Amendments

1996—Subsec. (b)(1). Pub. L. 104–104 substituted "such investigation within 5 months" for "such investigation within 12 months" and struck out before period at end ", or within 15 months after such date if the investigation raises questions of fact of such extraordinary complexity that the questions cannot be resolved within 12 months".

1988Pub. L. 100–594 designated existing provisions as subsec. (a) and added subsec. (b).

Effective Date of 1996 Amendment

Amendment by Pub. L. 104–104 applicable with respect to any charge, classification, regulation, or practice filed on or after one year after Feb. 8, 1996, see section 402(b)(4) of Pub. L. 104–104, set out as a note under section 204 of this title.

Forbearance Authority Not Limited

Nothing in amendment by Pub. L. 104–104 to be construed to limit authority of Commission to waive, modify, or forbear from applying certain requirements, see section 402(b)(3) of Pub. L. 104–104, set out as a note under section 204 of this title.

§209. Orders for payment of money

If, after hearing on a complaint, the Commission shall determine that any party complainant is entitled to an award of damages under the provisions of this chapter, the Commission shall make an order directing the carrier to pay to the complainant the sum to which he is entitled on or before a day named.

(June 19, 1934, ch. 652, title II, §209, 48 Stat. 1073.)

References in Text

This chapter, referred to in text, was in the original "this Act", meaning act June 19, 1934, ch. 652, 48 Stat. 1064, known as the Communications Act of 1934, which is classified principally to this chapter. For complete classification of this Act to the Code, see section 609 of this title and Tables.

§210. Franks and passes; free service to governmental agencies in connection with national defense

(a) Nothing in this chapter or in any other provision of law shall be construed to prohibit common carriers from issuing or giving franks to, or exchanging franks with each other for the use of, their officers, agents, employees, and their families, or, subject to such rules as the Commission may prescribe, from issuing, giving, or exchanging franks and passes to or with other common carriers not subject to the provisions of this chapter, for the use of their officers, agents, employees, and their families. The term "employees", as used in this section, shall include furloughed, pensioned, and superannuated employees.

(b) Nothing in this chapter or in any other provision of law shall be construed to prohibit common carriers from rendering to any agency of the Government free service in connection with the preparation for the national defense: Provided, That such free service may be rendered only in accordance with such rules and regulations as the Commission may prescribe therefor.

(June 19, 1934, ch. 652, title II, §210, 48 Stat. 1073; June 25, 1940, ch. 422, 54 Stat. 570.)

References in Text

This chapter, referred to in text, was in the original "this Act", meaning act June 19, 1934, ch. 652, 48 Stat. 1064, known as the Communications Act of 1934, which is classified principally to this chapter. For complete classification of this Act to the Code, see section 609 of this title and Tables.

Amendments

1940—Act June 25, 1940, designated existing provisions as subsec. (a) and added subsec. (b).

§211. Contracts of carriers; filing with Commission

(a) Every carrier subject to this chapter shall file with the Commission copies of all contracts, agreements, or arrangements with other carriers, or with common carriers not subject to the provisions of this chapter, in relation to any traffic affected by the provisions of this chapter to which it may be a party.

(b) The Commission shall have authority to require the filing of any other contracts of any carrier, and shall also have authority to exempt any carrier from submitting copies of such minor contracts as the Commission may determine.

(June 19, 1934, ch. 652, title II, §211, 48 Stat. 1073.)

References in Text

This chapter, referred to in subsec. (a), was in the original "this Act", meaning act June 19, 1934, ch. 652, 48 Stat. 1064, known as the Communications Act of 1934, which is classified principally to this chapter. For complete classification of this Act to the Code, see section 609 of this title and Tables.

§212. Interlocking directorates; officials dealing in securities

It shall be unlawful for any person to hold the position of officer or director of more than one carrier subject to this chapter, unless such holding shall have been authorized by order of the Commission, upon due showing in form and manner prescribed by the Commission, that neither public nor private interests will be adversely affected thereby: Provided, That the Commission may authorize persons to hold the position of officer or director in more than one such carrier, without regard to the requirements of this section, where it has found that one of the two or more carriers directly or indirectly owns more than 50 per centum of the stock of the other or others, or that 50 per centum or more of the stock of all such carriers is directly or indirectly owned by the same person. After this section takes effect it shall be unlawful for any officer or director of any carrier subject to this chapter to receive for his own benefit directly or indirectly, any money or thing of value in respect of negotiation, hypothecation, or sale of any securities issued or to be issued by such carrier, or to share in any of the proceeds thereof, or to participate in the making or paying of any dividends of such carriers from any funds properly included in capital account.

(June 19, 1934, ch. 652, title II, §212, 48 Stat. 1074; Aug. 2, 1956, ch. 874, §1, 70 Stat. 931; Pub. L. 103–414, title III, §304(a)(2), Oct. 25, 1994, 108 Stat. 4296.)

References in Text

This chapter, referred to in text, was in the original "this Act", meaning act June 19, 1934, ch. 652, 48 Stat. 1064, known as the Communications Act of 1934, which is classified principally to this chapter. For complete classification of this Act to the Code, see section 609 of this title and Tables.

Amendments

1994Pub. L. 103–414 substituted "It shall" for "After sixty days from June 19, 1934, it shall".

1956—Act Aug. 2, 1956, inserted proviso that Commission may authorize persons to hold position of officer or director in more than one carrier, where carrier owns more than 50 percent of the stock of the other carriers, or that 50 percent or more of the stock of all such carriers is owned by the same person, struck out "such" before "carrier" in sentence after proviso, inserted "subject to this chapter" after that word, and substituted "carriers" for "carrier" toward end of said sentence.

§213. Valuation of property of carrier

(a) Hearing

The Commission may from time to time, as may be necessary for the proper administration of this chapter, and after opportunity for hearing, make a valuation of all or of any part of the property owned or used by any carrier subject to this chapter, as of such date as the Commission may fix.

(b) Inventory

The Commission may at any time require any such carrier to file with the Commission an inventory of all or of any part of the property owned or used by said carrier, which inventory shall show the units of said property classified in such detail, and in such manner, as the Commission shall direct, and shall show the estimated cost of reproduction new of said units, and their reproduction cost new less depreciation, as of such date as the Commission may direct; and such carrier shall file such inventory within such reasonable time as the Commission by order shall require.

(c) Original cost

The Commission may at any time require any such carrier to file with the Commission a statement showing the original cost at the time of dedication to the public use of all or of any part of the property owned or used by said carrier. For the showing of such original cost said property shall be classified, and the original cost shall be defined, in such manner as the Commission may prescribe; and if any part of such cost cannot be determined from accounting or other records, the portion of the property for which such cost cannot be determined shall be reported to the Commission; and, if the Commission shall so direct, the original cost thereof shall be estimated in such manner as the Commission may prescribe. If the carrier owning the property at the time such original cost is reported shall have paid more or less than the original cost to acquire the same, the amount of such cost of acquisition, and any facts which the Commission may require in connection therewith, shall be reported with such original cost. The report made by a carrier under this subsection shall show the source or sources from which the original cost reported was obtained, and such other information as to the manner in which the report was prepared, as the Commission shall require.

(d) Easement, license or franchise

Nothing shall be included in the original cost reported for the property of any carrier under subsection (c) of this section on account of any easement, license, or franchise granted by the United States or by any State or political subdivision thereof, beyond the reasonable necessary expense lawfully incurred in obtaining such easement, license, or franchise from the public authority aforesaid, which expense shall be reported separately from all other costs in such detail as the Commission may require; and nothing shall be included in any valuation of the property of any carrier made by the Commission on account of any such easement, license, or franchise, beyond such reasonable necessary expense lawfully incurred as aforesaid.

(e) Improvements; changes in condition

The Commission shall keep itself informed of all new construction, extensions, improvements, retirements, or other changes in the condition, quantity, use, and classification of the property of common carriers, and of the cost of all additions and betterments thereto and of all changes in the investment therein, and may keep itself informed of current changes in costs and values of carrier properties.

(f) Additional information; access to records and data

For the purpose of enabling the Commission to make a valuation of any of the property of any such carrier, or to find the original cost of such property, or to find any other facts concerning the same which are required for use by the Commission, it shall be the duty of each such carrier to furnish to the Commission, within such reasonable time as the Commission may order, any information with respect thereto which the Commission may by order require, including copies of maps, contracts, reports of engineers, and other data, records, and papers, and to grant to all agents of the Commission free access to its property and its accounts, records, and memoranda whenever and wherever requested by any such duly authorized agent, and to cooperate with and aid the Commission in the work of making any such valuation or finding in such manner and to such extent as the Commission may require and direct, and all rules and regulations made by the Commission for the purpose of administering this section shall have the full force and effect of law. Unless otherwise ordered by the Commission, with the reasons therefor, the records and data of the Commission shall be open to the inspection and examination of the public. The Commission, in making any such valuation, shall be free to adopt any method of valuation which shall be lawful.

(g) State commissions

Nothing in this section shall impair or diminish the powers of any State commission.

(June 19, 1934, ch. 652, title II, §213, 48 Stat. 1074; Pub. L. 103–414, title III, §304(a)(3), Oct. 25, 1994, 108 Stat. 4296.)

References in Text

This chapter, referred to in subsec. (a), was in the original "this Act", meaning act June 19, 1934, ch. 652, 48 Stat. 1064, known as the Communications Act of 1934, which is classified principally to this chapter. For complete classification of this Act to the Code, see section 609 of this title and Tables.

Amendments

1994—Subsecs. (g), (h). Pub. L. 103–414 redesignated subsec. (h) as (g) and struck out former subsec. (g) which read as follows: "Notwithstanding any provision of this chapter the Interstate Commerce Commission, if requested to do so by the Commission, shall complete, at the earliest practicable date, such valuations of properties of carriers subject to this chapter as are now in progress, and shall thereafter transfer to the Commission the records relating thereto."

§214. Extension of lines or discontinuance of service; certificate of public convenience and necessity

(a) Exceptions; temporary or emergency service or discontinuance of service; changes in plant, operation or equipment

No carrier shall undertake the construction of a new line or of an extension of any line, or shall acquire or operate any line, or extension thereof, or shall engage in transmission over or by means of such additional or extended line, unless and until there shall first have been obtained from the Commission a certificate that the present or future public convenience and necessity require or will require the construction, or operation, or construction and operation, of such additional or extended line: Provided, That no such certificate shall be required under this section for the construction, acquisition, or operation of (1) a line within a single State unless such line constitutes part of an interstate line, (2) local, branch, or terminal lines not exceeding ten miles in length, or (3) any line acquired under section 221 of this title: Provided further, That the Commission may, upon appropriate request being made, authorize temporary or emergency service, or the supplementing of existing facilities, without regard to the provisions of this section. No carrier shall discontinue, reduce, or impair service to a community, or part of a community, unless and until there shall first have been obtained from the Commission a certificate that neither the present nor future public convenience and necessity will be adversely affected thereby; except that the Commission may, upon appropriate request being made, authorize temporary or emergency discontinuance, reduction, or impairment of service, or partial discontinuance, reduction, or impairment of service, without regard to the provisions of this section. As used in this section the term "line" means any channel of communication established by the use of appropriate equipment, other than a channel of communication established by the interconnection of two or more existing channels: Provided, however, That nothing in this section shall be construed to require a certificate or other authorization from the Commission for any installation, replacement, or other changes in plant, operation, or equipment, other than new construction, which will not impair the adequacy or quality of service provided.

(b) Notification of Secretary of Defense, Secretary of State, and State Governor

Upon receipt of an application for any such certificate, the Commission shall cause notice thereof to be given to, and shall cause a copy of such application to be filed with, the Secretary of Defense, the Secretary of State (with respect to such applications involving service to foreign points), and the Governor of each State in which such line is proposed to be constructed, extended, acquired, or operated, or in which such discontinuance, reduction, or impairment of service is proposed, with the right to those notified to be heard; and the Commission may require such published notice as it shall determine.

(c) Approval or disapproval; injunction

The Commission shall have power to issue such certificate as applied for, or to refuse to issue it, or to issue it for a portion or portions of a line, or extension thereof, or discontinuance, reduction, or impairment of service, described in the application, or for the partial exercise only of such right or privilege, and may attach to the issuance of the certificate such terms and conditions as in its judgment the public convenience and necessity may require. After issuance of such certificate, and not before, the carrier may, without securing approval other than such certificate, comply with the terms and conditions contained in or attached to the issuance of such certificate and proceed with the construction, extension, acquisition, operation, or discontinuance, reduction, or impairment of service covered thereby. Any construction, extension, acquisition, operation, discontinuance, reduction, or impairment of service contrary to the provisions of this section may be enjoined by any court of competent jurisdiction at the suit of the United States, the Commission, the State commission, any State affected, or any party in interest.

(d) Order of Commission; hearing; penalty

The Commission may, after full opportunity for hearing, in a proceeding upon complaint or upon its own initiative without complaint, authorize or require by order any carrier, party to such proceeding, to provide itself with adequate facilities for the expeditious and efficient performance of its service as a common carrier and to extend its line or to establish a public office; but no such authorization or order shall be made unless the Commission finds, as to such provision of facilities, as to such establishment of public offices, or as to such extension, that it is reasonably required in the interest of public convenience and necessity, or as to such extension or facilities that the expense involved therein will not impair the ability of the carrier to perform its duty to the public. Any carrier which refuses or neglects to comply with any order of the Commission made in pursuance of this subsection shall forfeit to the United States $1,200 for each day during which such refusal or neglect continues.

(e) Provision of universal service

(1) Eligible telecommunications carriers

A common carrier designated as an eligible telecommunications carrier under paragraph (2), (3), or (6) shall be eligible to receive universal service support in accordance with section 254 of this title and shall, throughout the service area for which the designation is received—

(A) offer the services that are supported by Federal universal service support mechanisms under section 254(c) of this title, either using its own facilities or a combination of its own facilities and resale of another carrier's services (including the services offered by another eligible telecommunications carrier); and

(B) advertise the availability of such services and the charges therefor using media of general distribution.

(2) Designation of eligible telecommunications carriers

A State commission shall upon its own motion or upon request designate a common carrier that meets the requirements of paragraph (1) as an eligible telecommunications carrier for a service area designated by the State commission. Upon request and consistent with the public interest, convenience, and necessity, the State commission may, in the case of an area served by a rural telephone company, and shall, in the case of all other areas, designate more than one common carrier as an eligible telecommunications carrier for a service area designated by the State commission, so long as each additional requesting carrier meets the requirements of paragraph (1). Before designating an additional eligible telecommunications carrier for an area served by a rural telephone company, the State commission shall find that the designation is in the public interest.

(3) Designation of eligible telecommunications carriers for unserved areas

If no common carrier will provide the services that are supported by Federal universal service support mechanisms under section 254(c) of this title to an unserved community or any portion thereof that requests such service, the Commission, with respect to interstate services or an area served by a common carrier to which paragraph (6) applies, or a State commission, with respect to intrastate services, shall determine which common carrier or carriers are best able to provide such service to the requesting unserved community or portion thereof and shall order such carrier or carriers to provide such service for that unserved community or portion thereof. Any carrier or carriers ordered to provide such service under this paragraph shall meet the requirements of paragraph (1) and shall be designated as an eligible telecommunications carrier for that community or portion thereof.

(4) Relinquishment of universal service

A State commission (or the Commission in the case of a common carrier designated under paragraph (6)) shall permit an eligible telecommunications carrier to relinquish its designation as such a carrier in any area served by more than one eligible telecommunications carrier. An eligible telecommunications carrier that seeks to relinquish its eligible telecommunications carrier designation for an area served by more than one eligible telecommunications carrier shall give advance notice to the State commission (or the Commission in the case of a common carrier designated under paragraph (6)) of such relinquishment. Prior to permitting a telecommunications carrier designated as an eligible telecommunications carrier to cease providing universal service in an area served by more than one eligible telecommunications carrier, the State commission (or the Commission in the case of a common carrier designated under paragraph (6)) shall require the remaining eligible telecommunications carrier or carriers to ensure that all customers served by the relinquishing carrier will continue to be served, and shall require sufficient notice to permit the purchase or construction of adequate facilities by any remaining eligible telecommunications carrier. The State commission (or the Commission in the case of a common carrier designated under paragraph (6)) shall establish a time, not to exceed one year after the State commission (or the Commission in the case of a common carrier designated under paragraph (6)) approves such relinquishment under this paragraph, within which such purchase or construction shall be completed.

(5) "Service area" defined

The term "service area" means a geographic area established by a State commission (or the Commission under paragraph (6)) for the purpose of determining universal service obligations and support mechanisms. In the case of an area served by a rural telephone company, "service area" means such company's "study area" unless and until the Commission and the States, after taking into account recommendations of a Federal-State Joint Board instituted under section 410(c) of this title, establish a different definition of service area for such company.

(6) Common carriers not subject to State commission jurisdiction

In the case of a common carrier providing telephone exchange service and exchange access that is not subject to the jurisdiction of a State commission, the Commission shall upon request designate such a common carrier that meets the requirements of paragraph (1) as an eligible telecommunications carrier for a service area designated by the Commission consistent with applicable Federal and State law. Upon request and consistent with the public interest, convenience and necessity, the Commission may, with respect to an area served by a rural telephone company, and shall, in the case of all other areas, designate more than one common carrier as an eligible telecommunications carrier for a service area designated under this paragraph, so long as each additional requesting carrier meets the requirements of paragraph (1). Before designating an additional eligible telecommunications carrier for an area served by a rural telephone company, the Commission shall find that the designation is in the public interest.

(June 19, 1934, ch. 652, title II, §214, 48 Stat. 1075; Mar. 6, 1943, ch. 10, §§2–5, 57 Stat. 11; Pub. L. 93–506, §1, Nov. 30, 1974, 88 Stat. 1577; Pub. L. 101–239, title III, §3002(d), Dec. 19, 1989, 103 Stat. 2131; Pub. L. 103–414, title III, §304(a)(4), Oct. 25, 1994, 108 Stat. 4296; Pub. L. 104–104, title I, §102(a), Feb. 8, 1996, 110 Stat. 80; Pub. L. 105–125, §1, Dec. 1, 1997, 111 Stat. 2540.)

Amendments

1997—Subsec. (e)(1). Pub. L. 105–125, §1(1), substituted "(2), (3), or (6)" for "(2) or (3)".

Subsec. (e)(3). Pub. L. 105–125, §1(2), substituted "interstate services or an area served by a common carrier to which paragraph (6) applies" for "interstate services".

Subsec. (e)(4). Pub. L. 105–125, §1(3), inserted "(or the Commission in the case of a common carrier designated under paragraph (6))" after "State commission" wherever appearing.

Subsec. (e)(5). Pub. L. 105–125, §1(4), inserted "(or the Commission under paragraph (6))" after "State commission".

Subsec. (e)(6). Pub. L. 105–125, §1(5), added par. (6).

1996—Subsec. (e). Pub. L. 104–104 added subsec. (e).

1994—Subsec. (a). Pub. L. 103–414 substituted "section 221" for "section 221 or 222".

1989—Subsec. (d). Pub. L. 101–239 substituted "$1,200" for "$100".

1974—Subsec. (b). Pub. L. 93–506 substituted "the Secretary of Defense, the Secretary of State (with respect to such applications involving service to foreign points)," for "the Secretary of the Army, the Secretary of the Navy,".

1943—Subsec. (a). Act Mar. 6, 1943, §2, among other changes inserted all after "no carrier shall discontinue", etc.

Subsec. (b). Act Mar. 6, 1943, §3, among other changes provided notice should be filed with Secretary of War and the Secretary of the Navy.

Subsec. (c). Act Mar. 6, 1943, §4, extended provisions to include discontinuance, reduction, or impairment of service.

Subsec. (d). Act Mar. 6, 1943, §5, amended first sentence.

Extension of Lines; ARMIS Reports

Pub. L. 104–104, title IV, §402(b)(2), Feb. 8, 1996, 110 Stat. 129, provided that: "The Commission shall permit any common carrier—

"(A) to be exempt from the requirements of section 214 of the Communications Act of 1934 [47 U.S.C. 214] for the extension of any line; and

"(B) to file cost allocation manuals and ARMIS reports annually, to the extent such carrier is required to file such manuals or reports."

§215. Examination of transactions relating to furnishing of services, equipment, etc.; reports to Congress

(a) Access to records and documents

The Commission shall examine into transactions entered into by any common carrier which relate to the furnishing of equipment, supplies, research, services, finances, credit, or personnel to such carrier and/or which may affect the charges made or to be made and/or the services rendered or to be rendered by such carrier, in wire or radio communication subject to this chapter, and shall report to the Congress whether any such transactions have affected or are likely to affect adversely the ability of the carrier to render adequate service to the public, or may result in any undue or unreasonable increase in charges or in the maintenance of undue or unreasonable charges for such service; and in order to fully examine into such transactions the Commission shall have access to and the right of inspection and examination of all accounts, records, and memoranda, including all documents, papers, and correspondence now or hereafter existing, of persons furnishing such equipment, supplies, research, services, finances, credit, or personnel. The Commission shall include in its report its recommendations for necessary legislation in connection with such transactions, and shall report specifically whether in its opinion legislation should be enacted (1) authorizing the Commission to declare any such transactions void or to permit such transactions to be carried out subject to such modification of their terms and conditions as the Commission shall deem desirable in the public interest; and/or (2) subjecting such transactions to the approval of the Commission where the person furnishing or seeking to furnish the equipment, supplies, research, services, finances, credit, or personnel is a person directly or indirectly controlling or controlled by, or under direct or indirect common control with, such carrier; and/or (3) authorizing the Commission to require that all or any transactions of carriers involving the furnishing of equipment, supplies, research, services, finances, credit, or personnel to such carrier be upon competitive bids on such terms and conditions and subject to such regulations as it shall prescribe as necessary in the public interest.

(b) Exclusive dealing contracts

The Commission shall examine all contracts of common carriers subject to this chapter which prevent the other party thereto from dealing with another common carrier subject to this chapter, and shall report its findings to Congress, together with its recommendations as to whether additional legislation on this subject is desirable.

(June 19, 1934, ch. 652, title II, §215, 48 Stat. 1076; Pub. L. 115–141, div. P, title IV, §402(i)(2), Mar. 23, 2018, 132 Stat. 1089.)

References in Text

This chapter, referred to in text, was in the original "this Act", meaning act June 19, 1934, ch. 652, 48 Stat. 1064, known as the Communications Act of 1934, which is classified principally to this chapter. For complete classification of this Act to the Code, see section 609 of this title and Tables.

Amendments

2018—Subsecs. (b), (c). Pub. L. 115–141 redesignated subsec. (c) as (b) and struck out former subsec. (b). Prior to amendment, text of subsec. (b) read as follows: "The Commission shall investigate the methods by which and the extent to which wire telephone companies are furnishing wire telegraph service and wire telegraph companies are furnishing wire telephone service, and shall report its findings to Congress, together with its recommendations as to whether additional legislation on this subject is desirable."

§216. Receivers and trustees; application of chapter

The provisions of this chapter shall apply to all receivers and operating trustees of carriers subject to this chapter to the same extent that it applies to carriers.

(June 19, 1934, ch. 652, title II, §216, 48 Stat. 1077.)

References in Text

This chapter, referred to in text, was in the original "this Act", meaning act June 19, 1934, ch. 652, 48 Stat. 1064, known as the Communications Act of 1934, which is classified principally to this chapter. For complete classification of this Act to the Code, see section 609 of this title and Tables.

§217. Agents' acts and omissions; liability of carrier

In construing and enforcing the provisions of this chapter, the act, omission, or failure of any officer, agent, or other person acting for or employed by any common carrier or user, acting within the scope of his employment, shall in every case be also deemed to be the act, omission, or failure of such carrier or user as well as that of the person.

(June 19, 1934, ch. 652, title II, §217, 48 Stat. 1077.)

References in Text

This chapter, referred to in text, was in the original "this Act", meaning act June 19, 1934, ch. 652, 48 Stat. 1064, known as the Communications Act of 1934, which is classified principally to this chapter. For complete classification of this Act to the Code, see section 609 of this title and Tables.

§218. Management of business; inquiries by Commission

The Commission may inquire into the management of the business of all carriers subject to this chapter, and shall keep itself informed as to the manner and method in which the same is conducted and as to technical developments and improvements in wire and radio communication and radio transmission of energy to the end that the benefits of new inventions and developments may be made available to the people of the United States. The Commission may obtain from such carriers and from persons directly or indirectly controlling or controlled by, or under direct or indirect common control with, such carriers full and complete information necessary to enable the Commission to perform the duties and carry out the objects for which it was created.

(June 19, 1934, ch. 652, title II, §218, 48 Stat. 1077.)

References in Text

This chapter, referred to in text, was in the original "this Act", meaning act June 19, 1934, ch. 652, 48 Stat. 1064, known as the Communications Act of 1934, which is classified principally to this chapter. For complete classification of this Act to the Code, see section 609 of this title and Tables.

§219. Reports by carriers; contents and requirements generally

(a) The Commission is authorized to require annual reports from all carriers subject to this chapter, and from persons directly or indirectly controlling or controlled by, or under direct or indirect common control with, any such carrier, to prescribe the manner in which such reports shall be made, and to require from such persons specific answers to all questions upon which the Commission may need information. Except as otherwise required by the Commission, such annual reports shall show in detail the amount of capital stock issued, the amount and privileges of each class of stock, the amounts paid therefor, and the manner of payment for the same; the dividends paid and the surplus fund, if any; the number of stockholders (and the names of the thirty largest holders of each class of stock and the amount held by each); the funded and floating debts and the interest paid thereon; the cost and value of the carrier's property, franchises, and equipment; the number of employees and the salaries paid each class; the names of all officers and directors, and the amount of salary, bonus, and all other compensation paid to each; the amounts expended for improvements each year, how expended, and the character of such improvements; the earnings and receipts from each branch of business and from all sources; the operating and other expenses; the balances of profit and loss; and a complete exhibit of the financial operations of the carrier each year, including an annual balance sheet. Such reports shall also contain such information in relation to charges or regulations concerning charges, or agreements, arrangements, or contracts affecting the same, as the Commission may require.

(b) Such reports shall be for such twelve months' period as the Commission shall designate and shall be filed with the Commission at its office in Washington within three months after the close of the year for which the report is made, unless additional time is granted in any case by the Commission; and if any person subject to the provisions of this section shall fail to make and file said annual reports within the time above specified, or within the time extended by the Commission, for making and filing the same, or shall fail to make specific answer to any question authorized by the provisions of this section within thirty days from the time it is lawfully required so to do, such person shall forfeit to the United States the sum of $1,200 for each and every day it shall continue to be in default with respect thereto. The Commission may by general or special orders require any such carriers to file monthly reports of earnings and expenses and to file periodical and/or special reports concerning any matters with respect to which the Commission is authorized or required by law to act. If any such carrier shall fail to make and file any such periodical or special report within the time fixed by the Commission, it shall be subject to the forfeitures above provided.

(June 19, 1934, ch. 652, title II, §219, 48 Stat. 1077; Aug. 2, 1956, ch. 874, §2, 70 Stat. 931; Pub. L. 87–444, §§1, 2, Apr. 27, 1962, 76 Stat. 63; Pub. L. 101–239, title III, §3002(e), Dec. 19, 1989, 103 Stat. 2131.)

References in Text

This chapter, referred to in subsec. (a), was in the original "this Act", meaning act June 19, 1934, ch. 652, 48 Stat. 1064, known as the Communications Act of 1934, which is classified principally to this chapter. For complete classification of this Act to the Code, see section 609 of this title and Tables.

Amendments

1989—Subsec. (b). Pub. L. 101–239 substituted "$1,200" for "$100".

1962—Subsec. (a). Pub. L. 87–444, §1, struck out "under oath" after "require annual report".

Subsec. (b). Pub. L. 87–444, §2, struck out provisions that the periodical or special reports be under oath whenever the Commission so required.

1956—Subsec. (a). Act Aug. 2, 1956, substituted "Except as otherwise required by the Commission, such" for "Such" at beginning of second sentence.

§220. Accounts, records, and memoranda

(a) Forms

(1) The Commission may, in its discretion, prescribe the forms of any and all accounts, records, and memoranda to be kept by carriers subject to this chapter, including the accounts, records, and memoranda of the movement of traffic, as well as of the receipts and expenditures of moneys.

(2) The Commission shall, by rule, prescribe a uniform system of accounts for use by telephone companies. Such uniform system shall require that each common carrier shall maintain a system of accounting methods, procedures, and techniques (including accounts and supporting records and memoranda) which shall ensure a proper allocation of all costs to and among telecommunications services, facilities, and products (and to and among classes of such services, facilities, and products) which are developed, manufactured, or offered by such common carrier.

(b) Depreciation charges

The Commission may prescribe, for such carriers as it determines to be appropriate, the classes of property for which depreciation charges may be properly included under operating expenses, and the percentages of depreciation which shall be charged with respect to each of such classes of property, classifying the carriers as it may deem proper for this purpose. The Commission may, when it deems necessary, modify the classes and percentages so prescribed. Such carriers shall not, after the Commission has prescribed the classes of property for which depreciation charges may be included, charge to operating expenses any depreciation charges on classes of property other than those prescribed by the Commission, or, after the Commission has prescribed percentages of depreciation, charge with respect to any class of property a percentage of depreciation other than that prescribed therefor by the Commission. No such carrier shall in any case include in any form under its operating or other expenses any depreciation or other charge or expenditure included elsewhere as a depreciation charge or otherwise under its operating or other expenses.

(c) Access to information; burden of proof; use of independent auditors

The Commission shall at all times have access to and the right of inspection and examination of all accounts, records, and memoranda, including all documents, papers, and correspondence now or hereafter existing, and kept or required to be kept by such carriers, and the provisions of this section respecting the preservation and destruction of books, papers, and documents shall apply thereto. The burden of proof to justify every accounting entry questioned by the Commission shall be on the person making, authorizing, or requiring such entry and the Commission may suspend a charge or credit pending submission of proof by such person. Any provision of law prohibiting the disclosure of the contents of messages or communications shall not be deemed to prohibit the disclosure of any matter in accordance with the provisions of this section. The Commission may obtain the services of any person licensed to provide public accounting services under the law of any State to assist with, or conduct, audits under this section. While so employed or engaged in conducting an audit for the Commission under this section, any such person shall have the powers granted the Commission under this subsection and shall be subject to subsection (f) in the same manner as if that person were an employee of the Commission.

(d) Penalty for failure to comply

In case of failure or refusal on the part of any such carrier to keep such accounts, records, and memoranda on the books and in the manner prescribed by the Commission, or to submit such accounts, records, memoranda, documents, papers, and correspondence as are kept to the inspection of the Commission or any of its authorized agents, such carrier shall forfeit to the United States the sum of $6,000 for each day of the continuance of each such offense.

(e) False entry; destruction; penalty

Any person who shall willfully make any false entry in the accounts of any book of accounts or in any record or memoranda kept by any such carrier, or who shall willfully destroy, mutilate, alter, or by any other means or device falsify any such account, record, or memoranda, or who shall willfully neglect or fail to make full, true, and correct entries in such accounts, records, or memoranda of all facts and transactions appertaining to the business of the carrier, shall be deemed guilty of a misdemeanor, and shall be subject, upon conviction, to a fine of not less than $1,000 nor more than $5,000 or imprisonment for a term of not less than one year nor more than three years, or both such fine and imprisonment: Provided, That the Commission may in its discretion issue orders specifying such operating, accounting, or financial papers, records, books, blanks, or documents which may, after a reasonable time, be destroyed, and prescribing the length of time such books, papers, or documents shall be preserved.

(f) Confidentiality of information

No member, officer, or employee of the Commission shall divulge any fact or information which may come to his knowledge during the course of examination of books or other accounts, as hereinbefore provided, except insofar as he may be directed by the Commission or by a court.

(g) Use of other forms; alterations in prescribed forms

After the Commission has prescribed the forms and manner of keeping of accounts, records, and memoranda to be kept by any person as herein provided, it shall be unlawful for such person to keep any other accounts, records, or memoranda than those so prescribed or such as may be approved by the Commission or to keep the accounts in any other manner than that prescribed or approved by the Commission. Notice of alterations by the Commission in the required manner or form of keeping accounts shall be given to such persons by the Commission at least six months before the same are to take effect.

(h) Exemption; regulation by State commission

The Commission may classify carriers subject to this chapter and prescribe different requirements under this section for different classes of carriers, and may, if it deems such action consistent with the public interest, except the carriers of any particular class or classes in any State from any of the requirements under this section in cases where such carriers are subject to State commission regulation with respect to matters to which this section relates.

(i) Consultation with State commissions

The Commission, before prescribing any requirements as to accounts, records, or memoranda, shall notify each State commission having jurisdiction with respect to any carrier involved, and shall give reasonable opportunity to each such commission to present its views, and shall receive and consider such views and recommendations.

(j) Report to Congress on need for further legislation

The Commission shall investigate and report to Congress as to the need for legislation to define further or harmonize the powers of the Commission and of State commissions with respect to matters to which this section relates.

(June 19, 1934, ch. 652, title II, §220, 48 Stat. 1078; Pub. L. 101–239, title III, §3002(f), Dec. 19, 1989, 103 Stat. 2131; Pub. L. 103–414, title III, §§303(a)(7), (8), 304(a)(5), Oct. 25, 1994, 108 Stat. 4294, 4296; Pub. L. 104–104, title IV, §403(d), (e), Feb. 8, 1996, 110 Stat. 130.)

References in Text

This chapter, referred to in subsecs. (a)(1) and (h), was in the original "this Act", meaning act June 19, 1934, ch. 652, 48 Stat. 1064, known as the Communications Act of 1934, which is classified principally to this chapter. For complete classification of this Act to the Code, see section 609 of this title and Tables.

Amendments

1996—Subsec. (b). Pub. L. 104–104, §403(d), substituted "may prescribe, for such carriers as it determines to be appropriate," for "shall prescribe for such carriers".

Subsec. (c). Pub. L. 104–104, §403(e), inserted at end "The Commission may obtain the services of any person licensed to provide public accounting services under the law of any State to assist with, or conduct, audits under this section. While so employed or engaged in conducting an audit for the Commission under this section, any such person shall have the powers granted the Commission under this subsection and shall be subject to subsection (f) in the same manner as if that person were an employee of the Commission."

1994—Subsec. (a). Pub. L. 103–414, §303(a)(7), designated existing provisions as par. (1) and added par. (2).

Subsec. (b). Pub. L. 103–414, §304(a)(5), struck out ", as soon as practicable," after "The Commission shall".

Pub. L. 103–414, §303(a)(8), substituted "classes" for "clasess" after "prescribed the" in third sentence.

1989—Subsec. (d). Pub. L. 101–239 substituted "$6,000" for "$500".

§221. Consolidations and mergers of telephone companies

(a) Repealed. Pub. L. 104–104, title VI, §601(b)(2), Feb. 8, 1996, 110 Stat. 143

(b) State jurisdiction over services

Subject to the provisions of sections 225 and 301 of this title, nothing in this chapter shall be construed to apply, or to give the Commission jurisdiction, with respect to charges, classifications, practices, services, facilities, or regulations for or in connection with wire, mobile, or point-to-point radio telephone exchange service, or any combination thereof, even though a portion of such exchange service constitutes interstate or foreign communication, in any case where such matters are subject to regulation by a State commission or by local governmental authority.

(c) Determination of property used in interstate toll service

For the purpose of administering this chapter as to carriers engaged in wire telephone communication, the Commission may classify the property of any such carrier used for wire telephone communication, and determine what property of said carrier shall be considered as used in interstate or foreign telephone toll service. Such classification shall be made after hearing, upon notice to the carrier, the State commission (or the Governor, if the State has no State commission) of any State in which the property of said carrier is located, and such other persons as the Commission may prescribe.

(d) Valuation of property

In making a valuation of the property of any wire telephone carrier the Commission, after making the classification authorized in this section, may in its discretion value only that part of the property of such carrier determined to be used in interstate or foreign telephone toll service.

(June 19, 1934, ch. 652, title II, §221, 48 Stat. 1080; Apr. 27, 1954, ch. 175, §4, 68 Stat. 64; Aug. 2, 1956, ch. 874, §3, 70 Stat. 932; Pub. L. 101–336, title IV, §401(b)(2), July 26, 1990, 104 Stat. 369; Pub. L. 104–104, title VI, §601(b)(2), Feb. 8, 1996, 110 Stat. 143.)

References in Text

This chapter, referred to in subsecs. (b) and (c), was in the original "this Act", meaning act June 19, 1934, ch. 652, 48 Stat. 1064, known as the Communications Act of 1934, which is classified principally to this chapter. For complete classification of this Act to the Code, see section 609 of this title and Tables.

Amendments

1996—Subsec. (a). Pub. L. 104–104 struck out subsec. (a) relating to notification of State Governor and State commission, public hearing, and certification.

1990—Subsec. (b). Pub. L. 101–336 substituted "sections 225 and 301" for "section 301".

1956—Subsec. (a). Act Aug. 2, 1956, inserted provisions relating to submission of comments by parties and required a public hearing upon request, in lieu of former provisions requiring hearing upon application.

1954—Subsec. (b). Act Apr. 27, 1954, included mobile or point-to-point radio telephone exchange service within exclusions provided for in such subsection, where it is subject to regulation by a State commission or by local governmental authority, and made it clear that the Commission retains its licensing authority over the radio stations that might be involved in such service.

§222. Privacy of customer information

(a) In general

Every telecommunications carrier has a duty to protect the confidentiality of proprietary information of, and relating to, other telecommunication carriers, equipment manufacturers, and customers, including telecommunication carriers reselling telecommunications services provided by a telecommunications carrier.

(b) Confidentiality of carrier information

A telecommunications carrier that receives or obtains proprietary information from another carrier for purposes of providing any telecommunications service shall use such information only for such purpose, and shall not use such information for its own marketing efforts.

(c) Confidentiality of customer proprietary network information

(1) Privacy requirements for telecommunications carriers

Except as required by law or with the approval of the customer, a telecommunications carrier that receives or obtains customer proprietary network information by virtue of its provision of a telecommunications service shall only use, disclose, or permit access to individually identifiable customer proprietary network information in its provision of (A) the telecommunications service from which such information is derived, or (B) services necessary to, or used in, the provision of such telecommunications service, including the publishing of directories.

(2) Disclosure on request by customers

A telecommunications carrier shall disclose customer proprietary network information, upon affirmative written request by the customer, to any person designated by the customer.

(3) Aggregate customer information

A telecommunications carrier that receives or obtains customer proprietary network information by virtue of its provision of a telecommunications service may use, disclose, or permit access to aggregate customer information other than for the purposes described in paragraph (1). A local exchange carrier may use, disclose, or permit access to aggregate customer information other than for purposes described in paragraph (1) only if it provides such aggregate information to other carriers or persons on reasonable and nondiscriminatory terms and conditions upon reasonable request therefor.

(d) Exceptions

Nothing in this section prohibits a telecommunications carrier from using, disclosing, or permitting access to customer proprietary network information obtained from its customers, either directly or indirectly through its agents—

(1) to initiate, render, bill, and collect for telecommunications services;

(2) to protect the rights or property of the carrier, or to protect users of those services and other carriers from fraudulent, abusive, or unlawful use of, or subscription to, such services;

(3) to provide any inbound telemarketing, referral, or administrative services to the customer for the duration of the call, if such call was initiated by the customer and the customer approves of the use of such information to provide such service; and

(4) to provide call location information concerning the user of a commercial mobile service (as such term is defined in section 332(d) of this title) or the user of an IP-enabled voice service (as such term is defined in section 615b of this title)—

(A) to a public safety answering point, emergency medical service provider or emergency dispatch provider, public safety, fire service, or law enforcement official, or hospital emergency or trauma care facility, in order to respond to the user's call for emergency services;

(B) to inform the user's legal guardian or members of the user's immediate family of the user's location in an emergency situation that involves the risk of death or serious physical harm; or

(C) to providers of information or database management services solely for purposes of assisting in the delivery of emergency services in response to an emergency.

(e) Subscriber list information

Notwithstanding subsections (b), (c), and (d), a telecommunications carrier that provides telephone exchange service shall provide subscriber list information gathered in its capacity as a provider of such service on a timely and unbundled basis, under nondiscriminatory and reasonable rates, terms, and conditions, to any person upon request for the purpose of publishing directories in any format.

(f) Authority to use location information

For purposes of subsection (c)(1), without the express prior authorization of the customer, a customer shall not be considered to have approved the use or disclosure of or access to—

(1) call location information concerning the user of a commercial mobile service (as such term is defined in section 332(d) of this title) or the user of an IP-enabled voice service (as such term is defined in section 615b of this title), other than in accordance with subsection (d)(4); or

(2) automatic crash notification information to any person other than for use in the operation of an automatic crash notification system.

(g) Subscriber listed and unlisted information for emergency services

Notwithstanding subsections (b), (c), and (d), a telecommunications carrier that provides telephone exchange service or a provider of IP-enabled voice service (as such term is defined in section 615b of this title) shall provide information described in subsection (i)(3)(A) 1 (including information pertaining to subscribers whose information is unlisted or unpublished) that is in its possession or control (including information pertaining to subscribers of other carriers) on a timely and unbundled basis, under nondiscriminatory and reasonable rates, terms, and conditions to providers of emergency services, and providers of emergency support services, solely for purposes of delivering or assisting in the delivery of emergency services.

(h) Definitions

As used in this section:

(1) Customer proprietary network information

The term "customer proprietary network information" means—

(A) information that relates to the quantity, technical configuration, type, destination, location, and amount of use of a telecommunications service subscribed to by any customer of a telecommunications carrier, and that is made available to the carrier by the customer solely by virtue of the carrier-customer relationship; and

(B) information contained in the bills pertaining to telephone exchange service or telephone toll service received by a customer of a carrier;


except that such term does not include subscriber list information.

(2) Aggregate information

The term "aggregate customer information" means collective data that relates to a group or category of services or customers, from which individual customer identities and characteristics have been removed.

(3) Subscriber list information

The term "subscriber list information" means any information—

(A) identifying the listed names of subscribers of a carrier and such subscribers' telephone numbers, addresses, or primary advertising classifications (as such classifications are assigned at the time of the establishment of such service), or any combination of such listed names, numbers, addresses, or classifications; and

(B) that the carrier or an affiliate has published, caused to be published, or accepted for publication in any directory format.

(4) Public safety answering point

The term "public safety answering point" means a facility that has been designated to receive emergency calls and route them to emergency service personnel.

(5) Emergency services

The term "emergency services" means 9–1–1 emergency services and emergency notification services.

(6) Emergency notification services

The term "emergency notification services" means services that notify the public of an emergency.

(7) Emergency support services

The term "emergency support services" means information or data base management services used in support of emergency services.

(June 19, 1934, ch. 652, title II, §222, as added Pub. L. 104–104, title VII, §702, Feb. 8, 1996, 110 Stat. 148; amended Pub. L. 106–81, §5, Oct. 26, 1999, 113 Stat. 1288; Pub. L. 110–283, title III, §301, July 23, 2008, 122 Stat. 2625.)

Prior Provisions

A prior section 222, act June 19, 1934, ch. 652, title II, §222, as added Mar. 6, 1943, ch. 10, §1, 57 Stat. 5; amended July 12, 1960, Pub. L. 86–624, §36, 74 Stat. 421; Nov. 30, 1974, Pub. L. 93–506, §2, 88 Stat. 1577; Dec. 24, 1980, Pub. L. 96–590, 94 Stat. 3414; Dec. 29, 1981, Pub. L. 97–130, §2, 95 Stat. 1687, related to competition among record carriers, prior to repeal by Pub. L. 103–414, title III, §304(a)(6), Oct. 25, 1994, 108 Stat. 4297.

Amendments

2008—Subsec. (d)(4). Pub. L. 110–283, §301(1), inserted "or the user of an IP-enabled voice service (as such term is defined in section 615b of this title)" after "section 332(d) of this title)" in introductory provisions.

Subsec. (f). Pub. L. 110–283, §301(2), struck out "wireless" before "location" in heading.

Subsec. (f)(1). Pub. L. 110–283, §301(1), inserted "or the user of an IP-enabled voice service (as such term is defined in section 615b of this title)" after "section 332(d) of this title)".

Subsec. (g). Pub. L. 110–283, §301(3), inserted "or a provider of IP-enabled voice service (as such term is defined in section 615b of this title)" after "telephone exchange service".

1999—Subsec. (d)(4). Pub. L. 106–81, §5(1), added par. (4).

Subsecs. (f), (g). Pub. L. 106–81, §5(2), added subsecs. (f) and (g). Former subsec. (f) redesignated (h).

Subsec. (h). Pub. L. 106–81, §5(2)–(4), redesignated subsec. (f) as (h), inserted "location," after "destination," in par. (1)(A), and added pars. (4) to (7).

1 So in original. Probably should be subsection "(h)(3)(A)".

§223. Obscene or harassing telephone calls in the District of Columbia or in interstate or foreign communications

(a) Prohibited acts generally

Whoever—

(1) in interstate or foreign communications—

(A) by means of a telecommunications device knowingly—

(i) makes, creates, or solicits, and

(ii) initiates the transmission of,


any comment, request, suggestion, proposal, image, or other communication which is obscene or child pornography, with intent to abuse, threaten, or harass another person;

(B) by means of a telecommunications device knowingly—

(i) makes, creates, or solicits, and

(ii) initiates the transmission of,


any comment, request, suggestion, proposal, image, or other communication which is obscene or child pornography, knowing that the recipient of the communication is under 18 years of age, regardless of whether the maker of such communication placed the call or initiated the communication;

(C) makes a telephone call or utilizes a telecommunications device, whether or not conversation or communication ensues, without disclosing his identity and with intent to abuse, threaten, or harass any specific person;

(D) makes or causes the telephone of another repeatedly or continuously to ring, with intent to harass any person at the called number; or

(E) makes repeated telephone calls or repeatedly initiates communication with a telecommunications device, during which conversation or communication ensues, solely to harass any specific person; or


(2) knowingly permits any telecommunications facility under his control to be used for any activity prohibited by paragraph (1) with the intent that it be used for such activity,


shall be fined under title 18 or imprisoned not more than two years, or both.

(b) Prohibited acts for commercial purposes; defense to prosecution

(1) Whoever knowingly—

(A) within the United States, by means of telephone, makes (directly or by recording device) any obscene communication for commercial purposes to any person, regardless of whether the maker of such communication placed the call; or

(B) permits any telephone facility under such person's control to be used for an activity prohibited by subparagraph (A),


shall be fined in accordance with title 18 or imprisoned not more than two years, or both.

(2) Whoever knowingly—

(A) within the United States, by means of telephone, makes (directly or by recording device) any indecent communication for commercial purposes which is available to any person under 18 years of age or to any other person without that person's consent, regardless of whether the maker of such communication placed the call; or

(B) permits any telephone facility under such person's control to be used for an activity prohibited by subparagraph (A), shall be fined not more than $50,000 or imprisoned not more than six months, or both.


(3) It is a defense to prosecution under paragraph (2) of this subsection that the defendant restricted access to the prohibited communication to persons 18 years of age or older in accordance with subsection (c) of this section and with such procedures as the Commission may prescribe by regulation.

(4) In addition to the penalties under paragraph (1), whoever, within the United States, intentionally violates paragraph (1) or (2) shall be subject to a fine of not more than $50,000 for each violation. For purposes of this paragraph, each day of violation shall constitute a separate violation.

(5)(A) In addition to the penalties under paragraphs (1), (2), and (5), whoever, within the United States, violates paragraph (1) or (2) shall be subject to a civil fine of not more than $50,000 for each violation. For purposes of this paragraph, each day of violation shall constitute a separate violation.

(B) A fine under this paragraph may be assessed either—

(i) by a court, pursuant to civil action by the Commission or any attorney employed by the Commission who is designated by the Commission for such purposes, or

(ii) by the Commission after appropriate administrative proceedings.


(6) The Attorney General may bring a suit in the appropriate district court of the United States to enjoin any act or practice which violates paragraph (1) or (2). An injunction may be granted in accordance with the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure.

(c) Restriction on access to subscribers by common carriers; judicial remedies respecting restrictions

(1) A common carrier within the District of Columbia or within any State, or in interstate or foreign commerce, shall not, to the extent technically feasible, provide access to a communication specified in subsection (b) from the telephone of any subscriber who has not previously requested in writing the carrier to provide access to such communication if the carrier collects from subscribers an identifiable charge for such communication that the carrier remits, in whole or in part, to the provider of such communication.

(2) Except as provided in paragraph (3), no cause of action may be brought in any court or administrative agency against any common carrier, or any of its affiliates, including their officers, directors, employees, agents, or authorized representatives on account of—

(A) any action which the carrier demonstrates was taken in good faith to restrict access pursuant to paragraph (1) of this subsection; or

(B) any access permitted—

(i) in good faith reliance upon the lack of any representation by a provider of communications that communications provided by that provider are communications specified in subsection (b), or

(ii) because a specific representation by the provider did not allow the carrier, acting in good faith, a sufficient period to restrict access to communications described in subsection (b).


(3) Notwithstanding paragraph (2) of this subsection, a provider of communications services to which subscribers are denied access pursuant to paragraph (1) of this subsection may bring an action for a declaratory judgment or similar action in a court. Any such action shall be limited to the question of whether the communications which the provider seeks to provide fall within the category of communications to which the carrier will provide access only to subscribers who have previously requested such access.

(d) Sending or displaying offensive material to persons under 18

Whoever—

(1) in interstate or foreign communications knowingly—

(A) uses an interactive computer service to send to a specific person or persons under 18 years of age, or

(B) uses any interactive computer service to display in a manner available to a person under 18 years of age,


any comment, request, suggestion, proposal, image, or other communication that is obscene or child pornography, regardless of whether the user of such service placed the call or initiated the communication; or

(2) knowingly permits any telecommunications facility under such person's control to be used for an activity prohibited by paragraph (1) with the intent that it be used for such activity,


shall be fined under title 18 or imprisoned not more than two years, or both.

(e) Defenses

In addition to any other defenses available by law:

(1) No person shall be held to have violated subsection (a) or (d) solely for providing access or connection to or from a facility, system, or network not under that person's control, including transmission, downloading, intermediate storage, access software, or other related capabilities that are incidental to providing such access or connection that does not include the creation of the content of the communication.

(2) The defenses provided by paragraph (1) of this subsection shall not be applicable to a person who is a conspirator with an entity actively involved in the creation or knowing distribution of communications that violate this section, or who knowingly advertises the availability of such communications.

(3) The defenses provided in paragraph (1) of this subsection shall not be applicable to a person who provides access or connection to a facility, system, or network engaged in the violation of this section that is owned or controlled by such person.

(4) No employer shall be held liable under this section for the actions of an employee or agent unless the employee's or agent's conduct is within the scope of his or her employment or agency and the employer (A) having knowledge of such conduct, authorizes or ratifies such conduct, or (B) recklessly disregards such conduct.

(5) It is a defense to a prosecution under subsection (a)(1)(B) or (d), or under subsection (a)(2) with respect to the use of a facility for an activity under subsection (a)(1)(B) that a person—

(A) has taken, in good faith, reasonable, effective, and appropriate actions under the circumstances to restrict or prevent access by minors to a communication specified in such subsections, which may involve any appropriate measures to restrict minors from such communications, including any method which is feasible under available technology; or

(B) has restricted access to such communication by requiring use of a verified credit card, debit account, adult access code, or adult personal identification number.


(6) The Commission may describe measures which are reasonable, effective, and appropriate to restrict access to prohibited communications under subsection (d). Nothing in this section authorizes the Commission to enforce, or is intended to provide the Commission with the authority to approve, sanction, or permit, the use of such measures. The Commission shall have no enforcement authority over the failure to utilize such measures. The Commission shall not endorse specific products relating to such measures. The use of such measures shall be admitted as evidence of good faith efforts for purposes of paragraph (5) in any action arising under subsection (d). Nothing in this section shall be construed to treat interactive computer services as common carriers or telecommunications carriers.

(f) Violations of law required; commercial entities, nonprofit libraries, or institutions of higher education

(1) No cause of action may be brought in any court or administrative agency against any person on account of any activity that is not in violation of any law punishable by criminal or civil penalty, and that the person has taken in good faith to implement a defense authorized under this section or otherwise to restrict or prevent the transmission of, or access to, a communication specified in this section.

(2) No State or local government may impose any liability for commercial activities or actions by commercial entities, nonprofit libraries, or institutions of higher education in connection with an activity or action described in subsection (a)(2) or (d) that is inconsistent with the treatment of those activities or actions under this section: Provided, however, That nothing herein shall preclude any State or local government from enacting and enforcing complementary oversight, liability, and regulatory systems, procedures, and requirements, so long as such systems, procedures, and requirements govern only intrastate services and do not result in the imposition of inconsistent rights, duties or obligations on the provision of interstate services. Nothing in this subsection shall preclude any State or local government from governing conduct not covered by this section.

(g) Application and enforcement of other Federal law

Nothing in subsection (a), (d), (e), or (f) or in the defenses to prosecution under subsection (a) or (d) shall be construed to affect or limit the application or enforcement of any other Federal law.

(h) Definitions

For purposes of this section—

(1) The use of the term "telecommunications device" in this section—

(A) shall not impose new obligations on broadcasting station licensees and cable operators covered by obscenity and indecency provisions elsewhere in this chapter;

(B) does not include an interactive computer service; and

(C) in the case of subparagraph (C) of subsection (a)(1), includes any device or software that can be used to originate telecommunications or other types of communications that are transmitted, in whole or in part, by the Internet (as such term is defined in section 1104 1 of the Internet Tax Freedom Act (47 U.S.C. 151 note)).


(2) The term "interactive computer service" has the meaning provided in section 230(f)(2) of this title.

(3) The term "access software" means software (including client or server software) or enabling tools that do not create or provide the content of the communication but that allow a user to do any one or more of the following:

(A) filter, screen, allow, or disallow content;

(B) pick, choose, analyze, or digest content; or

(C) transmit, receive, display, forward, cache, search, subset, organize, reorganize, or translate content.


(4) The term "institution of higher education" has the meaning provided in section 1001 of title 20.

(5) The term "library" means a library eligible for participation in State-based plans for funds under title III of the Library Services and Construction Act (20 U.S.C. 355e et seq.).

(June 19, 1934, ch. 652, title II, §223, as added Pub. L. 90–299, §1, May 3, 1968, 82 Stat. 112; amended Pub. L. 98–214, §8(a), (b), Dec. 8, 1983, 97 Stat. 1469, 1470; Pub. L. 100–297, title VI, §6101, Apr. 28, 1988, 102 Stat. 424; Pub. L. 100–690, title VII, §7524, Nov. 18, 1988, 102 Stat. 4502; Pub. L. 101–166, title V, §521(1), Nov. 21, 1989, 103 Stat. 1192; Pub. L. 103–414, title III, §303(a)(9), Oct. 25, 1994, 108 Stat. 4294; Pub. L. 104–104, title V, §502, Feb. 8, 1996, 110 Stat. 133; Pub. L. 105–244, title I, §102(a)(14), Oct. 7, 1998, 112 Stat. 1621; Pub. L. 105–277, div. C, title XIV, §1404(b), Oct. 21, 1998, 112 Stat. 2681–739; Pub. L. 108–21, title VI, §603, Apr. 30, 2003, 117 Stat. 687; Pub. L. 109–162, title I, §113(a), Jan. 5, 2006, 119 Stat. 2987; Pub. L. 113–4, title XI, §1102, Mar. 7, 2013, 127 Stat. 135.)

References in Text

The Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, referred to in subsec. (b)(6), are set out in the Appendix to Title 28, Judiciary and Judicial Procedure.

This chapter, referred to in subsec. (h)(1)(A), was in the original "this Act", meaning act June 19, 1934, ch. 652, 48 Stat. 1064, known as the Communications Act of 1934, which is classified principally to this chapter. For complete classification of this Act to the Code, see section 609 of this title and Tables.

Section 1104 of the Internet Tax Freedom Act, referred to in subsec. (h)(1)(C), is section 1104 of title XI of div. C of Pub. L. 105–277, which is set out in a note under section 151 of this title. The term "Internet" is defined in section 1105 of Pub. L. 105–277, which is set out in the same note under section 151 of this title.

The Library Services and Construction Act, referred to in subsec. (h)(5), is act June 19, 1956, ch. 407, 70 Stat. 293, as amended. Title III of the Act was classified generally to subchapter III (§355e et seq.) of chapter 16 of Title 20, Education, and was repealed by Pub. L. 104–208, div. A, title I, §101(e) [title VII, §708(a)], Sept. 30, 1996, 110 Stat. 3009–233, 3009-312.

Amendments

2013—Subsec. (a)(1)(A). Pub. L. 113–4, §1102(1), struck out "annoy," after "intent to" in concluding provisions.

Subsec. (a)(1)(C). Pub. L. 113–4, §1102(2)(B), which directed the substitution of "harass any specific person" for "harass any person at the called number or who receives the communication", was executed by making the substitution for "harass any person at the called number or who receives the communications", to reflect the probable intent of Congress.

Pub. L. 113–4, §1102(2)(A), struck out "annoy," after "intent to".

Subsec. (a)(1)(E). Pub. L. 113–4, §1102(3), substituted "harass any specific person" for "harass any person at the called number or who receives the communication".

2006—Subsec. (h)(1)(C). Pub. L. 109–162 added subpar. (C).

2003—Subsec. (a)(1)(A). Pub. L. 108–21, §603(1)(A), substituted "or child pornography" for ", lewd, lascivious, filthy, or indecent" in concluding provisions.

Subsec. (a)(1)(B). Pub. L. 108–21, §603(1)(B), substituted "child pornography" for "indecent" in concluding provisions.

Subsec. (d)(1). Pub. L. 108–21, §603(2), substituted "is obscene or child pornography" for ", in context, depicts or describes, in terms patently offensive as measured by contemporary community standards, sexual or excretory activities or organs" in concluding provisions.

1998—Subsec. (h)(2). Pub. L. 105–277 substituted "230(f)(2)" for "230(e)(2)".

Subsec. (h)(4). Pub. L. 105–244, which directed amendment of section 223(h)(4) of the Telecommunications Act of 1934 (47 U.S.C. 223(h)(4)) by substituting "section 1001" for "section 1141", was executed to this section, which is section 223 of the Communications Act of 1934, to reflect the probable intent of Congress.

1996—Subsec. (a). Pub. L. 104–104, §502(1), added subsec. (a) and struck out former subsec. (a) which read as follows: "Whoever—

"(1) in the District of Columbia or in interstate or foreign communication by means of telephone—

"(A) makes any comment, request, suggestion or proposal which is obscene, lewd, lascivious, filthy, or indecent;

"(B) makes a telephone call, whether or not conversation ensues, without disclosing his identity and with intent to annoy, abuse, threaten, or harass any person at the called number;

"(C) makes or causes the telephone of another repeatedly or continuously to ring, with intent to harass any person at the called number; or

"(D) makes repeated telephone calls, during which conversation ensues, solely to harass any person at the called number; or

"(2) knowingly permits any telephone facility under his control to be used for any purpose prohibited by this section,

shall be fined not more than $50,000 or imprisoned not more than six months, or both."

Subsecs. (d) to (h). Pub. L. 104–104, §502(2), added subsecs. (d) to (h).

1994—Subsec. (b)(3). Pub. L. 103–414 substituted "defendant restricted access" for "defendant restrict access".

1989—Subsecs. (b), (c). Pub. L. 101–166 added subsecs. (b) and (c) and struck out former subsec. (b) which read as follows:

"(1) Whoever knowingly—

"(A) in the District of Columbia or in interstate or foreign communication, by means of telephone, makes (directly or by recording device) any obscene communication for commercial purposes to any person, regardless of whether the maker of such communication placed the call; or

"(B) permits any telephone facility under such person's control to be used for an activity prohibited by clause (i);

shall be fined in accordance with title 18 or imprisoned not more than two years, or both.

"(2) Whoever knowingly—

"(A) in the District of Columbia or in interstate or foreign communication, by means of telephone, makes (directly or by recording device) any indecent communication for commercial purposes to any person, regardless of whether the maker of such communication placed the call; or

"(B) permits any telephone facility under such person's control to be used for an activity prohibited by clause (i),

shall be fined not more than $50,000 or imprisoned not more than six months, or both."

1988—Subsec. (b). Pub. L. 100–690 amended subsec. (b) generally. Prior to amendment, subsec. (b) read as follows:

"(1) Whoever knowingly—

"(A) in the District of Columbia or in interstate or foreign communication, by means of telephone, makes (directly or by recording device) any obscene or indecent communication for commercial purposes to any person, regardless of whether the maker of such communication placed the call; or

"(B) permits any telephone facility under such person's control to be used for an activity prohibited by subparagraph (A),

shall be fined not more than $50,000 or imprisoned not more than six months, or both.

"(2) In addition to the penalties under paragraph (1), whoever, in the District of Columbia or in interstate or foreign communication, intentionally violates paragraph (1)(A) or (1)(B) shall be subject to a fine of not more than $50,000 for each violation. For purposes of this paragraph, each day of violation shall constitute a separate violation.

"(3)(A) In addition to the penalties under paragraphs (1) and (2), whoever, in the District of Columbia or in interstate or foreign communication, violates paragraph (1)(A) or (1)(B) shall be subject to a civil fine of not more than $50,000 for each violation. For purposes of this paragraph, each day of violation shall constitute a separate violation.

"(B) A fine under this paragraph may be assessed either—

"(i) by a court, pursuant to a civil action by the Commission or any attorney employed by the Commission who is designated by the Commission for such purposes, or

"(ii) by the Commission after appropriate administrative proceedings.

"(4) The Attorney General may bring a suit in the appropriate district court of the United States to enjoin any act or practice which violates paragraph (1)(A) or (1)(B). An injunction may be granted in accordance with the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure."

Pub. L. 100–297, in par. (1)(A), struck out "under eighteen years of age or to any other person without that person's consent" after "to any person", redesignated par. (3) as (2) and struck out former par. (2) which read as follows: "It is a defense to a prosecution under this subsection that the defendant restricted access to the prohibited communication to persons eighteen years of age or older in accordance with procedures which the Commission shall prescribe by regulation.", redesignated par. (4) as (3) and substituted "under paragraphs (1) and (2)" for "under paragraphs (1) and (3)", and redesignated par. (5) as (4).

1983—Subsec. (a). Pub. L. 98–214, §8(a)(1), (2), designated existing provisions as subsec. (a) and substituted "$50,000" for "$500" in provisions after par. (2).

Subsec. (a)(2). Pub. L. 98–214, §8(b), inserted "facility" after "telephone".

Subsec. (b). Pub. L. 98–214, §8(a)(3), added subsec. (b).

Effective Date of 1998 Amendments

Pub. L. 105–277, div. C, title XIV, §1406, Oct. 21, 1998, 112 Stat. 2681–741, provided that: "This title [enacting section 231 of this title, amending this section and section 230 of this title, and enacting provisions set out as notes under sections 231 and 609 of this title] and the amendments made by this title shall take effect 30 days after the date of enactment of this Act [Oct. 21, 1998]."

Amendment by Pub. L. 105–244 effective Oct. 1, 1998, except as otherwise provided in Pub. L. 105–244, see section 3 of Pub. L. 105–244, set out as a note under section 1001 of Title 20, Education.

Effective Date of 1989 Amendment

Amendment by Pub. L. 101–166 effective 120 days after Nov. 21, 1989, see section 521(3) of Pub. L. 101–166, set out as a note under section 152 of this title.

Effective Date of 1988 Amendment

Amendment by Pub. L. 100–297 effective July 1, 1988, see section 6303 of Pub. L. 100–297, set out as a note under section 1071 of Title 20, Education.

Construction of 2006 Amendment

Pub. L. 109–162, title I, §113(b), Jan. 5, 2006, 119 Stat. 2987, provided that: "This section [amending this section] and the amendment made by this section may not be construed to affect the meaning given the term 'telecommunications device' in section 223(h)(1) of the Communications Act of 1934 [47 U.S.C. 223(h)(1)], as in effect before the date of the enactment of this section [Jan. 5, 2006]."

Expedited Review

Pub. L. 104–104, title V, §561, Feb. 8, 1996, 110 Stat. 142, provided that:

"(a) Three-Judge District Court Hearing.—Notwithstanding any other provision of law, any civil action challenging the constitutionality, on its face, of this title [see Short Title of 1996 Amendment note set out under section 609 of this title] or any amendment made by this title, or any provision thereof, shall be heard by a district court of 3 judges convened pursuant to the provisions of section 2284 of title 28, United States Code.

"(b) Appellate Review.—Notwithstanding any other provision of law, an interlocutory or final judgment, decree, or order of the court of 3 judges in an action under subsection (a) holding this title or an amendment made by this title, or any provision thereof, unconstitutional shall be reviewable as a matter of right by direct appeal to the Supreme Court. Any such appeal shall be filed not more than 20 days after entry of such judgment, decree, or order."

Regulations; Disposition of Complaints Pending on December 8, 1983

Pub. L. 98–214, §8(c), (d), Dec. 8, 1983, 97 Stat. 1470, provided that:

"(c) The Federal Communications Commission shall issue regulations pursuant to section 223(b)(2) of the Communications Act of 1934 (as added by subsection (a) of this section) [subsec. (b)(2) of this section] not later than one hundred and eighty days after the date of the enactment of this Act [Dec. 8, 1983].

"(d) The Commission shall act on all complaints alleging violation of section 223 of the Communications Act of 1934 [this section] which are pending on the date of the enactment of this Act [Dec. 8, 1983] within ninety days of such date of enactment."

1 See References in Text note below.

§224. Pole attachments

(a) Definitions

As used in this section:

(1) The term "utility" means any person who is a local exchange carrier or an electric, gas, water, steam, or other public utility, and who owns or controls poles, ducts, conduits, or rights-of-way used, in whole or in part, for any wire communications. Such term does not include any railroad, any person who is cooperatively organized, or any person owned by the Federal Government or any State.

(2) The term "Federal Government" means the Government of the United States or any agency or instrumentality thereof.

(3) The term "State" means any State, territory, or possession of the United States, the District of Columbia, or any political subdivision, agency, or instrumentality thereof.

(4) The term "pole attachment" means any attachment by a cable television system or provider of telecommunications service to a pole, duct, conduit, or right-of-way owned or controlled by a utility.

(5) For purposes of this section, the term "telecommunications carrier" (as defined in section 153 of this title) does not include any incumbent local exchange carrier as defined in section 251(h) of this title.

(b) Authority of Commission to regulate rates, terms, and conditions; enforcement powers; promulgation of regulations

(1) Subject to the provisions of subsection (c) of this section, the Commission shall regulate the rates, terms, and conditions for pole attachments to provide that such rates, terms, and conditions are just and reasonable, and shall adopt procedures necessary and appropriate to hear and resolve complaints concerning such rates, terms, and conditions. For purposes of enforcing any determinations resulting from complaint procedures established pursuant to this subsection, the Commission shall take such action as it deems appropriate and necessary, including issuing cease and desist orders, as authorized by section 312(b) of this title.

(2) The Commission shall prescribe by rule regulations to carry out the provisions of this section.

(c) State regulatory authority over rates, terms, and conditions; preemption; certification; circumstances constituting State regulation

(1) Nothing in this section shall be construed to apply to, or to give the Commission jurisdiction with respect to rates, terms, and conditions, or access to poles, ducts, conduits, and rights-of-way as provided in subsection (f), for pole attachments in any case where such matters are regulated by a State.

(2) Each State which regulates the rates, terms, and conditions for pole attachments shall certify to the Commission that—

(A) it regulates such rates, terms, and conditions; and

(B) in so regulating such rates, terms, and conditions, the State has the authority to consider and does consider the interests of the subscribers of the services offered via such attachments, as well as the interests of the consumers of the utility services.


(3) For purposes of this subsection, a State shall not be considered to regulate the rates, terms, and conditions for pole attachments—

(A) unless the State has issued and made effective rules and regulations implementing the State's regulatory authority over pole attachments; and

(B) with respect to any individual matter, unless the State takes final action on a complaint regarding such matter—

(i) within 180 days after the complaint is filed with the State, or

(ii) within the applicable period prescribed for such final action in such rules and regulations of the State, if the prescribed period does not extend beyond 360 days after the filing of such complaint.

(d) Determination of just and reasonable rates; "usable space" defined

(1) For purposes of subsection (b) of this section, a rate is just and reasonable if it assures a utility the recovery of not less than the additional costs of providing pole attachments, nor more than an amount determined by multiplying the percentage of the total usable space, or the percentage of the total duct or conduit capacity, which is occupied by the pole attachment by the sum of the operating expenses and actual capital costs of the utility attributable to the entire pole, duct, conduit, or right-of-way.

(2) As used in this subsection, the term "usable space" means the space above the minimum grade level which can be used for the attachment of wires, cables, and associated equipment.

(3) This subsection shall apply to the rate for any pole attachment used by a cable television system solely to provide cable service. Until the effective date of the regulations required under subsection (e), this subsection shall also apply to the rate for any pole attachment used by a cable system or any telecommunications carrier (to the extent such carrier is not a party to a pole attachment agreement) to provide any telecommunications service.

(e) Regulations governing charges; apportionment of costs of providing space

(1) The Commission shall, no later than 2 years after February 8, 1996, prescribe regulations in accordance with this subsection to govern the charges for pole attachments used by telecommunications carriers to provide telecommunications services, when the parties fail to resolve a dispute over such charges. Such regulations shall ensure that a utility charges just, reasonable, and nondiscriminatory rates for pole attachments.

(2) A utility shall apportion the cost of providing space on a pole, duct, conduit, or right-of-way other than the usable space among entities so that such apportionment equals two-thirds of the costs of providing space other than the usable space that would be allocated to such entity under an equal apportionment of such costs among all attaching entities.

(3) A utility shall apportion the cost of providing usable space among all entities according to the percentage of usable space required for each entity.

(4) The regulations required under paragraph (1) shall become effective 5 years after February 8, 1996. Any increase in the rates for pole attachments that result from the adoption of the regulations required by this subsection shall be phased in equal annual increments over a period of 5 years beginning on the effective date of such regulations.

(f) Nondiscriminatory access

(1) A utility shall provide a cable television system or any telecommunications carrier with nondiscriminatory access to any pole, duct, conduit, or right-of-way owned or controlled by it.

(2) Notwithstanding paragraph (1), a utility providing electric service may deny a cable television system or any telecommunications carrier access to its poles, ducts, conduits, or rights-of-way, on a non-discriminatory 1 basis where there is insufficient capacity and for reasons of safety, reliability and generally applicable engineering purposes.

(g) Imputation to costs of pole attachment rate

A utility that engages in the provision of telecommunications services or cable services shall impute to its costs of providing such services (and charge any affiliate, subsidiary, or associate company engaged in the provision of such services) an equal amount to the pole attachment rate for which such company would be liable under this section.

(h) Modification or alteration of pole, duct, conduit, or right-of-way

Whenever the owner of a pole, duct, conduit, or right-of-way intends to modify or alter such pole, duct, conduit, or right-of-way, the owner shall provide written notification of such action to any entity that has obtained an attachment to such conduit or right-of-way so that such entity may have a reasonable opportunity to add to or modify its existing attachment. Any entity that adds to or modifies its existing attachment after receiving such notification shall bear a proportionate share of the costs incurred by the owner in making such pole, duct, conduit, or right-of-way accessible.

(i) Costs of rearranging or replacing attachment

An entity that obtains an attachment to a pole, conduit, or right-of-way shall not be required to bear any of the costs of rearranging or replacing its attachment, if such rearrangement or replacement is required as a result of an additional attachment or the modification of an existing attachment sought by any other entity (including the owner of such pole, duct, conduit, or right-of-way).

(June 19, 1934, ch. 652, title II, §224, as added Pub. L. 95–234, §6, Feb. 21, 1978, 92 Stat. 35; amended Pub. L. 97–259, title I, §106, Sept. 13, 1982, 96 Stat. 1091; Pub. L. 98–549, §4, Oct. 30, 1984, 98 Stat. 2801; Pub. L. 103–414, title III, §304(a)(7), Oct. 25, 1994, 108 Stat. 4297; Pub. L. 104–104, title VII, §703, Feb. 8, 1996, 110 Stat. 149.)

Amendments

1996—Subsec. (a)(1). Pub. L. 104–104, §703(1), inserted first sentence and struck out former first sentence which read as follows: "The term 'utility' means any person whose rates or charges are regulated by the Federal Government or a State and who owns or controls poles, ducts, conduits, or rights-of-way used, in whole or in part, for wire communication."

Subsec. (a)(4). Pub. L. 104–104, §703(2), inserted "or provider of telecommunications service" after "system".

Subsec. (a)(5). Pub. L. 104–104, §703(3), added par. (5).

Subsec. (c)(1). Pub. L. 104–104, §703(4), inserted ", or access to poles, ducts, conduits, and rights-of-way as provided in subsection (f)," after "conditions".

Subsec. (c)(2)(B). Pub. L. 104–104, §703(5), substituted "the services offered via such attachments" for "cable television services".

Subsec. (d)(3). Pub. L. 104–104, §703(6), added par. (3).

Subsecs. (e) to (i). Pub. L. 104–104, §703(7), added subsecs. (e) to (i).

1994—Subsec. (b)(2). Pub. L. 103–414 substituted "The Commission" for "Within 180 days from February 21, 1978, the Commission".

1984—Subsec. (c)(3). Pub. L. 98–549 added par. (3).

1982—Subsec. (e). Pub. L. 97–259 struck out subsec. (e) which provided that, upon expiration of 5-year period that began on Feb. 21, 1978, provisions of subsec. (d) of this section would cease to have any effect.

Effective Date of 1984 Amendment

Amendment by Pub. L. 98–549 effective 60 days after Oct. 30, 1984, except where otherwise expressly provided, see section 9(a) of Pub. L. 98–549, set out as a note under section 521 of this title.

Effective Date

Section effective on thirtieth day after Feb. 21, 1978, see section 7 of Pub. L. 95–234, set out as an Effective Date of 1978 Amendment note under section 152 of this title.

1 So in original. Probably should be "nondiscriminatory".

§225. Telecommunications services for hearing-impaired and speech-impaired individuals

(a) Definitions

As used in this section—

(1) Common carrier or carrier

The term "common carrier" or "carrier" includes any common carrier engaged in interstate communication by wire or radio as defined in section 153 of this title and any common carrier engaged in intrastate communication by wire or radio, notwithstanding sections 152(b) and 221(b) of this title.

(2) TDD

The term "TDD" means a Telecommunications Device for the Deaf, which is a machine that employs graphic communication in the transmission of coded signals through a wire or radio communication system.

(3) Telecommunications relay services

The term "telecommunications relay services" means telephone transmission services that provide the ability for an individual who is deaf, hard of hearing, deaf-blind, or who has a speech disability to engage in communication by wire or radio with one or more individuals, in a manner that is functionally equivalent to the ability of a hearing individual who does not have a speech disability to communicate using voice communication services by wire or radio.

(b) Availability of telecommunications relay services

(1) In general

In order to carry out the purposes established under section 151 of this title, to make available to all individuals in the United States a rapid, efficient nationwide communication service, and to increase the utility of the telephone system of the Nation, the Commission shall ensure that interstate and intrastate telecommunications relay services are available, to the extent possible and in the most efficient manner, to hearing-impaired and speech-impaired individuals in the United States.

(2) Use of general authority and remedies

For the purposes of administering and enforcing the provisions of this section and the regulations prescribed thereunder, the Commission shall have the same authority, power, and functions with respect to common carriers engaged in intrastate communication as the Commission has in administering and enforcing the provisions of this subchapter with respect to any common carrier engaged in interstate communication. Any violation of this section by any common carrier engaged in intrastate communication shall be subject to the same remedies, penalties, and procedures as are applicable to a violation of this chapter by a common carrier engaged in interstate communication.

(c) Provision of services

Each common carrier providing telephone voice transmission services shall, not later than 3 years after July 26, 1990, provide in compliance with the regulations prescribed under this section, throughout the area in which it offers service, telecommunications relay services, individually, through designees, through a competitively selected vendor, or in concert with other carriers. A common carrier shall be considered to be in compliance with such regulations—

(1) with respect to intrastate telecommunications relay services in any State that does not have a certified program under subsection (f) and with respect to interstate telecommunications relay services, if such common carrier (or other entity through which the carrier is providing such relay services) is in compliance with the Commission's regulations under subsection (d); or

(2) with respect to intrastate telecommunications relay services in any State that has a certified program under subsection (f) for such State, if such common carrier (or other entity through which the carrier is providing such relay services) is in compliance with the program certified under subsection (f) for such State.

(d) Regulations

(1) In general

The Commission shall, not later than 1 year after July 26, 1990, prescribe regulations to implement this section, including regulations that—

(A) establish functional requirements, guidelines, and operations procedures for telecommunications relay services;

(B) establish minimum standards that shall be met in carrying out subsection (c);

(C) require that telecommunications relay services operate every day for 24 hours per day;

(D) require that users of telecommunications relay services pay rates no greater than the rates paid for functionally equivalent voice communication services with respect to such factors as the duration of the call, the time of day, and the distance from point of origination to point of termination;

(E) prohibit relay operators from failing to fulfill the obligations of common carriers by refusing calls or limiting the length of calls that use telecommunications relay services;

(F) prohibit relay operators from disclosing the content of any relayed conversation and from keeping records of the content of any such conversation beyond the duration of the call; and

(G) prohibit relay operators from intentionally altering a relayed conversation.

(2) Technology

The Commission shall ensure that regulations prescribed to implement this section encourage, consistent with section 157(a) of this title, the use of existing technology and do not discourage or impair the development of improved technology.

(3) Jurisdictional separation of costs

(A) In general

Consistent with the provisions of section 410 of this title, the Commission shall prescribe regulations governing the jurisdictional separation of costs for the services provided pursuant to this section.

(B) Recovering costs

Such regulations shall generally provide that costs caused by interstate telecommunications relay services shall be recovered from all subscribers for every interstate service and costs caused by intrastate telecommunications relay services shall be recovered from the intrastate jurisdiction. In a State that has a certified program under subsection (f), a State commission shall permit a common carrier to recover the costs incurred in providing intrastate telecommunications relay services by a method consistent with the requirements of this section.

(e) Enforcement

(1) In general

Subject to subsections (f) and (g), the Commission shall enforce this section.

(2) Complaint

The Commission shall resolve, by final order, a complaint alleging a violation of this section within 180 days after the date such complaint is filed.

(f) Certification

(1) State documentation

Any State desiring to establish a State program under this section shall submit documentation to the Commission that describes the program of such State for implementing intrastate telecommunications relay services and the procedures and remedies available for enforcing any requirements imposed by the State program.

(2) Requirements for certification

After review of such documentation, the Commission shall certify the State program if the Commission determines that—

(A) the program makes available to hearing-impaired and speech-impaired individuals, either directly, through designees, through a competitively selected vendor, or through regulation of intrastate common carriers, intrastate telecommunications relay services in such State in a manner that meets or exceeds the requirements of regulations prescribed by the Commission under subsection (d); and

(B) the program makes available adequate procedures and remedies for enforcing the requirements of the State program.

(3) Method of funding

Except as provided in subsection (d), the Commission shall not refuse to certify a State program based solely on the method such State will implement for funding intrastate telecommunication relay services.

(4) Suspension or revocation of certification

The Commission may suspend or revoke such certification if, after notice and opportunity for hearing, the Commission determines that such certification is no longer warranted. In a State whose program has been suspended or revoked, the Commission shall take such steps as may be necessary, consistent with this section, to ensure continuity of telecommunications relay services.

(g) Complaint

(1) Referral of complaint

If a complaint to the Commission alleges a violation of this section with respect to intrastate telecommunications relay services within a State and certification of the program of such State under subsection (f) is in effect, the Commission shall refer such complaint to such State.

(2) Jurisdiction of Commission

After referring a complaint to a State under paragraph (1), the Commission shall exercise jurisdiction over such complaint only if—

(A) final action under such State program has not been taken on such complaint by such State—

(i) within 180 days after the complaint is filed with such State; or

(ii) within a shorter period as prescribed by the regulations of such State; or


(B) the Commission determines that such State program is no longer qualified for certification under subsection (f).

(June 19, 1934, ch. 652, title II, §225, as added Pub. L. 101–336, title IV, §401(a), July 26, 1990, 104 Stat. 366; amended Pub. L. 104–104, §3(d)(1), Feb. 8, 1996, 110 Stat. 61; Pub. L. 111–260, title I, §103(a), Oct. 8, 2010, 124 Stat. 2755.)

References in Text

This chapter, referred to in subsec. (b)(2), was in the original "this Act", meaning act June 19, 1934, ch. 652, 48 Stat. 1064, known as the Communications Act of 1934, which is classified principally to this chapter. For complete classification of this Act to the Code, see section 609 of this title and Tables.

Amendments

2010—Subsec. (a)(3). Pub. L. 111–260 amended par. (3) generally. Prior to amendment, text read as follows: "The term 'telecommunications relay services' means telephone transmission services that provide the ability for an individual who has a hearing impairment or speech impairment to engage in communication by wire or radio with a hearing individual in a manner that is functionally equivalent to the ability of an individual who does not have a hearing impairment or speech impairment to communicate using voice communication services by wire or radio. Such term includes services that enable two-way communication between an individual who uses a TDD or other nonvoice terminal device and an individual who does not use such a device."

1996—Subsec. (a)(1). Pub. L. 104–104 substituted "section 153" for "section 153(h)".

§226. Telephone operator services

(a) Definitions

As used in this section—

(1) The term "access code" means a sequence of numbers that, when dialed, connect the caller to the provider of operator services associated with that sequence.

(2) The term "aggregator" means any person that, in the ordinary course of its operations, makes telephones available to the public or to transient users of its premises, for interstate telephone calls using a provider of operator services.

(3) The term "call splashing" means the transfer of a telephone call from one provider of operator services to another such provider in such a manner that the subsequent provider is unable or unwilling to determine the location of the origination of the call and, because of such inability or unwillingness, is prevented from billing the call on the basis of such location.

(4) The term "consumer" means a person initiating any interstate telephone call using operator services.

(5) The term "equal access" has the meaning given that term in Appendix B of the Modification of Final Judgment entered August 24, 1982, in United States v. Western Electric, Civil Action No. 82–0192 (United States District Court, District of Columbia), as amended by the Court in its orders issued prior to October 17, 1990.

(6) The term "equal access code" means an access code that allows the public to obtain an equal access connection to the carrier associated with that code.

(7) The term "operator services" means any interstate telecommunications service initiated from an aggregator location that includes, as a component, any automatic or live assistance to a consumer to arrange for billing or completion, or both, of an interstate telephone call through a method other than—

(A) automatic completion with billing to the telephone from which the call originated; or

(B) completion through an access code used by the consumer, with billing to an account previously established with the carrier by the consumer.


(8) The term "presubscribed provider of operator services" means the interstate provider of operator services to which the consumer is connected when the consumer places a call using a provider of operator services without dialing an access code.

(9) The term "provider of operator services" means any common carrier that provides operator services or any other person determined by the Commission to be providing operator services.

(b) Requirements for providers of operator services

(1) In general

Beginning not later than 90 days after October 17, 1990, each provider of operator services shall, at a minimum—

(A) identify itself, audibly and distinctly, to the consumer at the beginning of each telephone call and before the consumer incurs any charge for the call;

(B) permit the consumer to terminate the telephone call at no charge before the call is connected;

(C) disclose immediately to the consumer, upon request and at no charge to the consumer—

(i) a quote of its rates or charges for the call;

(ii) the methods by which such rates or charges will be collected; and

(iii) the methods by which complaints concerning such rates, charges, or collection practices will be resolved;


(D) ensure, by contract or tariff, that each aggregator for which such provider is the presubscribed provider of operator services is in compliance with the requirements of subsection (c) and, if applicable, subsection (e)(1);

(E) withhold payment (on a location-by-location basis) of any compensation, including commissions, to aggregators if such provider reasonably believes that the aggregator (i) is blocking access by means of "950" or "800" numbers to interstate common carriers in violation of subsection (c)(1)(B) or (ii) is blocking access to equal access codes in violation of rules the Commission may prescribe under subsection (e)(1);

(F) not bill for unanswered telephone calls in areas where equal access is available;

(G) not knowingly bill for unanswered telephone calls where equal access is not available;

(H) not engage in call splashing, unless the consumer requests to be transferred to another provider of operator services, the consumer is informed prior to incurring any charges that the rates for the call may not reflect the rates from the actual originating location of the call, and the consumer then consents to be transferred; and

(I) except as provided in subparagraph (H), not bill for a call that does not reflect the location of the origination of the call.

(2) Additional requirements for first 3 years

In addition to meeting the requirements of paragraph (1), during the 3-year period beginning on the date that is 90 days after October 17, 1990, each presubscribed provider of operator services shall identify itself audibly and distinctly to the consumer, not only as required in paragraph (1)(A), but also for a second time before connecting the call and before the consumer incurs any charge.

(c) Requirements for aggregators

(1) In general

Each aggregator, beginning not later than 90 days after October 17, 1990, shall—

(A) post on or near the telephone instrument, in plain view of consumers—

(i) the name, address, and toll-free telephone number of the provider of operator services;

(ii) a written disclosure that the rates for all operator-assisted calls are available on request, and that consumers have a right to obtain access to the interstate common carrier of their choice and may contact their preferred interstate common carriers for information on accessing that carrier's service using that telephone; and

(iii) the name and address of the enforcement division of the Common Carrier Bureau of the Commission, to which the consumer may direct complaints regarding operator services;


(B) ensure that each of its telephones presubscribed to a provider of operator services allows the consumer to use "800" and "950" access code numbers to obtain access to the provider of operator services desired by the consumer; and

(C) ensure that no charge by the aggregator to the consumer for using an "800" or "950" access code number, or any other access code number, is greater than the amount the aggregator charges for calls placed using the presubscribed provider of operator services.

(2) Effect of State law or regulation

The requirements of paragraph (1)(A) shall not apply to an aggregator in any case in which State law or State regulation requires the aggregator to take actions that are substantially the same as those required in paragraph (1)(A).

(d) General rulemaking required

(1) Rulemaking proceeding

The Commission shall conduct a rulemaking proceeding pursuant to this subchapter to prescribe regulations to—

(A) protect consumers from unfair and deceptive practices relating to their use of operator services to place interstate telephone calls; and

(B) ensure that consumers have the opportunity to make informed choices in making such calls.

(2) Contents of regulations

The regulations prescribed under this section shall—

(A) contain provisions to implement each of the requirements of this section, other than the requirements established by the rulemaking under subsection (e) on access and compensation; and

(B) contain such other provisions as the Commission determines necessary to carry out this section and the purposes and policies of this section.

(3) Additional requirements to be implemented by regulations

The regulations prescribed under this section shall, at a minimum—

(A) establish minimum standards for providers of operator services and aggregators to use in the routing and handling of emergency telephone calls; and

(B) establish a policy for requiring providers of operator services to make public information about recent changes in operator services and choices available to consumers in that market.

(e) Separate rulemaking on access and compensation

(1) Access

The Commission,1 shall require—

(A) that each aggregator ensure within a reasonable time that each of its telephones presubscribed to a provider of operator services allows the consumer to obtain access to the provider of operator services desired by the consumer through the use of an equal access code; or

(B) that all providers of operator services, within a reasonable time, make available to their customers a "950" or "800" access code number for use in making operator services calls from anywhere in the United States; or

(C) that the requirements described under both subparagraphs (A) and (B) apply.

(2) Compensation

The Commission shall consider the need to prescribe compensation (other than advance payment by consumers) for owners of competitive public pay telephones for calls routed to providers of operator services that are other than the presubscribed provider of operator services for such telephones. Within 9 months after October 17, 1990, the Commission shall reach a final decision on whether to prescribe such compensation.

(f) Technological capability of equipment

Any equipment and software manufactured or imported more than 18 months after October 17, 1990, and installed by any aggregator shall be technologically capable of providing consumers with access to interstate providers of operator services through the use of equal access codes.

(g) Fraud

In any proceeding to carry out the provisions of this section, the Commission shall require such actions or measures as are necessary to ensure that aggregators are not exposed to undue risk of fraud.

(h) Determinations of rate compliance

(1) Filing of informational tariff

(A) In general

Each provider of operator services shall file, within 90 days after October 17, 1990, and shall maintain, update regularly, and keep open for public inspection, an informational tariff specifying rates, terms, and conditions, and including commissions, surcharges, any fees which are collected from consumers, and reasonable estimates of the amount of traffic priced at each rate, with respect to calls for which operator services are provided. Any changes in such rates, terms, or conditions shall be filed no later than the first day on which the changed rates, terms, or conditions are in effect.

(B) Waiver authority

The Commission may, after 4 years following October 17, 1990, waive the requirements of this paragraph only if—

(i) the findings and conclusions of the Commission in the final report issued under paragraph (3)(B)(iii) state that the regulatory objectives specified in subsection (d)(1)(A) and (B) have been achieved; and

(ii) the Commission determines that such waiver will not adversely affect the continued achievement of such regulatory objectives.

(2) Review of informational tariffs

If the rates and charges filed by any provider of operator services under paragraph (1) appear upon review by the Commission to be unjust or unreasonable, the Commission may require such provider of operator services to do either or both of the following:

(A) demonstrate that its rates and charges are just and reasonable, and

(B) announce that its rates are available on request at the beginning of each call.

(3) Proceeding required

(A) In general

Within 60 days after October 17, 1990, the Commission shall initiate a proceeding to determine whether the regulatory objectives specified in subsection (d)(1)(A) and (B) are being achieved. The proceeding shall—

(i) monitor operator service rates;

(ii) determine the extent to which offerings made by providers of operator services are improvements, in terms of service quality, price, innovation, and other factors, over those available before the entry of new providers of operator services into the market;

(iii) report on (in the aggregate and by individual provider) operator service rates, incidence of service complaints, and service offerings;

(iv) consider the effect that commissions and surcharges, billing and validation costs, and other costs of doing business have on the overall rates charged to consumers; and

(v) monitor compliance with the provisions of this section, including the periodic placement of telephone calls from aggregator locations.

(B) Reports

(i) The Commission shall, during the pendency of such proceeding and not later than 5 months after its commencement, provide the Congress with an interim report on the Commission's activities and progress to date.

(ii) Not later than 11 months after the commencement of such proceeding, the Commission shall report to the Congress on its interim findings as a result of the proceeding.

(iii) Not later than 23 months after the commencement of such proceeding, the Commission shall submit a final report to the Congress on its findings and conclusions.

(4) Implementing regulations

(A) In general

Unless the Commission makes the determination described in subparagraph (B), the Commission shall, within 180 days after submission of the report required under paragraph (3)(B)(iii), complete a rulemaking proceeding pursuant to this subchapter to establish regulations for implementing the requirements of this subchapter (and paragraphs (1) and (2) of this subsection) that rates and charges for operator services be just and reasonable. Such regulations shall include limitations on the amount of commissions or any other compensation given to aggregators by providers of operator service.

(B) Limitation

The requirement of subparagraph (A) shall not apply if, on the basis of the proceeding under paragraph (3)(A), the Commission makes (and includes in the report required by paragraph (3)(B)(iii)) a factual determination that market forces are securing rates and charges that are just and reasonable, as evidenced by rate levels, costs, complaints, service quality, and other relevant factors.

(i) Statutory construction

Nothing in this section shall be construed to alter the obligations, powers, or duties of common carriers or the Commission under the other sections of this chapter.

(June 19, 1934, ch. 652, title II, §226, as added Pub. L. 101–435, §3, Oct. 17, 1990, 104 Stat. 987; amended Pub. L. 101–555, §4, Nov. 15, 1990, 104 Stat. 2760; Pub. L. 102–538, title II, §207, Oct. 27, 1992, 106 Stat. 3543; Pub. L. 103–414, title III, §§303(a)(10), 304(a)(8), Oct. 25, 1994, 108 Stat. 4294, 4297.)

References in Text

This chapter, referred to in subsec. (i), was in the original "this Act", meaning act June 19, 1934, ch. 652, 48 Stat. 1064, known as the Communications Act of 1934, which is classified principally to this chapter. For complete classification of this Act to the Code, see section 609 of this title and Tables.

Amendments

1994—Subsec. (d)(2) to (4). Pub. L. 103–414, §303(a)(10), redesignated pars. (3) and (4) as (2) and (3), respectively, and struck out heading and text of former par. (2). Text read as follows: "The Commission shall initiate the proceeding required under paragraph (1) within 60 days after October 17, 1990, and shall prescribe regulations pursuant to the proceeding not later than 210 days after October 17, 1990. Such regulations shall take effect not later than 45 days after the date the regulations are prescribed."

Subsec. (e)(1). Pub. L. 103–414, §304(a)(8), struck out "within 9 months after October 17, 1990," after "The Commission," in introductory provisions.

1992—Subsec. (d)(4)(A). Pub. L. 102–538 inserted "and aggregators" after "operator services".

1990—Subsec. (b)(1). Pub. L. 101–555, §4(a), substituted "90 days" for "30 days".

Subsec. (b)(1)(J). Pub. L. 101–555, §4(b), struck out subpar. (J) which read as follows: "not bill an interexchange telephone call to a billing card number which—

"(i) is issued by another provider of operator services, and

"(ii) permits the identification of the other provider,

unless the call is billed at a rate not greater than the other provider's rate for the call, the consumer requests a special service that is not available under tariff from the other provider, or the consumer expressly consents to a rate greater than the other provider's rate."

Subsecs. (b)(2), (c)(1), (h)(1)(A). Pub. L. 101–555, §4(a), substituted "90 days" for "30 days".

Congressional Findings

Pub. L. 101–435, §2, Oct. 17, 1990, 104 Stat. 986, provided that: "The Congress finds that—

"(1) the divestiture of AT&T and decisions allowing open entry for competitors in the telephone marketplace produced a variety of new services and many new providers of existing telephone services;

"(2) the growth of competition in the telecommunications market makes it essential to ensure that safeguards are in place to assure fairness for consumers and service providers alike;

"(3) a variety of providers of operator services now compete to win contracts to provide operator services to hotels, hospitals, airports, and other aggregators of telephone business from consumers;

"(4) the mere existence of a variety of service providers in the operator services marketplace is significant in making that market competitive only when consumers are able to make informed choices from among those service providers;

"(5) however, often consumers have no choices in selecting a provider of operator services, and often attempts by consumers to reach their preferred long distance carrier by using a telephone billing card, credit card, or prearranged access code number are blocked;

"(6) a number of State regulatory authorities have taken action to protect consumers using intrastate operator services;

"(7) from January 1988 through February 1990, the Federal Communications Commission received over 4,000 complaints from consumers about operator services;

"(8) those consumers have complained that they are denied access to the interexchange carrier of their choice, that they are deceived about the identity of the company providing operator services for their calls and the rates being charged, that they lack information on what they can do to complain about unfair treatment by an operator service provider, and that they are, accordingly, being deprived of the free choice essential to the operation of a competitive market;

"(9) the Commission has testified that its actions have been insufficient to correct the problems in the operator services industry to date; and

"(10) a combination of industry self-regulation and government regulation is required to ensure that competitive operator services are provided in a fair and reasonable manner."

1 So in original. The comma probably should not appear.

§227. Restrictions on use of telephone equipment

(a) Definitions

As used in this section—

(1) The term "automatic telephone dialing system" means equipment which has the capacity—

(A) to store or produce telephone numbers to be called, using a random or sequential number generator; and

(B) to dial such numbers.


(2) The term "established business relationship", for purposes only of subsection (b)(1)(C)(i), shall have the meaning given the term in section 64.1200 of title 47, Code of Federal Regulations, as in effect on January 1, 2003, except that—

(A) such term shall include a relationship between a person or entity and a business subscriber subject to the same terms applicable under such section to a relationship between a person or entity and a residential subscriber; and

(B) an established business relationship shall be subject to any time limitation established pursuant to paragraph (2)(G)).1


(3) The term "telephone facsimile machine" means equipment which has the capacity (A) to transcribe text or images, or both, from paper into an electronic signal and to transmit that signal over a regular telephone line, or (B) to transcribe text or images (or both) from an electronic signal received