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Telecommunications Policy, Regulation, & Enforcement: A Retrospective of FCC Adjudication

Rose, Jaumarro Stephanie (2022) Telecommunications Policy, Regulation, & Enforcement: A Retrospective of FCC Adjudication. Doctoral Dissertation, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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Given their authority by Congress, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is charged with regulating telecommunications in the United States. When we consider telecommunications, we often discuss the policies, management, and challenges of adapting the existing regulatory framework to meet the needs of emerging innovative technologies. More often than not, specific areas of telecommunications are more widely debated than others (i.e., radio spectrum and the availability of broadband). However, the FCC’s regulatory authority covers various facets of equipment, authorizations/licensures, services, and infrastructure.

This research investigates the FCC’s Enforcement Bureau’s processes for resolving all telecommunications matters. Violations within telecommunications can range from antenna outages which compromise Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) operations, spectrum interference which can disrupt radio operations, obscenities/indecency over broadcasts that can possibly morally corrupt or offend our society, defrauding the Universal Service Fund, E-RATE, and Lifeline programs which hinders the affordability of services in underrepresented and underserved areas, and robocalls – an over burdensome nuisance- are just a few of the violations that fall under the FCC's purview. Much of the literature concerning the perspectives on how the FCC should regulate or de-regulate delves into the aspects of how the policy affects industry but does not explicitly identify how enforcement occurs or what telecommunications adjudication entails – the primary consensus being the FCC's adjudications are often in the form of ex-post enforcement mechanisms. Our work examines the FCC's Enforcement Bureau's mechanisms for telecommunications violations. By curating a dataset from EB proceedings and employing mixed methods approaches to analyze our data, we further developed a taxonomy that provides insight into what kinds of violators, what types of violations, and how these violations impact the telecommunications landscape.

Furthermore, we leverage predictive modeling to forecast how the FCC's adjudication of these violations may adapt in the future when modeled with the obtained governmental data. When violations can range from life-threatening to administrative, will the FCC's current enforcement mechanisms sufficiently handle the emerging technologies purported to enter the telecommunications landscape during the fourth industrial revolution (4IR)? Our research findings indicate that we may not be ready.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Rose, Jaumarro StephanieJSR67@Pitt.eduJSR67
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairWeiss,
Committee MemberKrishnamurthy,
Committee MemberTipper,
Committee MemberMurtazashvili,
Date: 2 June 2022
Date Type: Publication
Defense Date: 8 April 2022
Approval Date: 2 June 2022
Submission Date: 27 April 2022
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Number of Pages: 201
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: School of Computing and Information > Telecommunications
Degree: PhD - Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis Type: Doctoral Dissertation
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: Federal Communications Commission, FCC, Telecommunications, Policy, Regulation, Enforcement, 4IR, Pirate Radio, Robocalls, Consumer Telephone Related Issues, Digital Divide, Adjudication
Date Deposited: 02 Jun 2022 21:09
Last Modified: 02 Jun 2022 21:09

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