Tuesday, July 7, 2015

FCC Scales Back Plans to Shutter Field Offices

FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler

FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler, working with leaders of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, has agreed to reduce the number of field offices slated to be closed under a plan to streamline the operation of the Enforcement Bureau. The original plan called for closing 16 of the FCC's 24 field offices and replacing them with so-called "Tiger Team" strike forces that could be sent anywhere to go after rules violators. There was widespread opposition to the plan, as many people believed it would result in significantly reduced enforcement activities.
Now, according to the ARRL Letter, meetings between the FCC and congressional oversight leaders led to an agreement to close only nine field offices, keeping open a total of 15. There was no immediate announcement of which offices originally planned for closure would remain open. House Communications and Technology Subcommittee Chairman Greg Walden, W7EQI, praised the "collaborative" effort and said the agreement would "help ensure that the commission can fulfill its responsibilities to the public and public safety communities.