|Section 257: Market Entry Barriers|
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Communications Act of 1934 :: Title II
Sec. 257 Elimination of Barriers for entrepreneurs and other small businesses
a) Elimination of barriers Within 15 months after February 8, 1996, the Commission shall complete a proceeding for the purpose of identifying and eliminating, by regulations pursuant to its authority under this chapter (other than this section), market entry barriers for entrepreneurs and other small businesses in the provision and ownership of telecommunications services and information services, or in the provision of parts or services to providers of telecommunications services and information services.
(b) National policy In carrying out subsection (a) of this section, the Commission shall seek to promote the policies and purposes of this chapter favoring diversity of media voices, vigorous economic competition, technological advancement, and promotion of the public interest, convenience, and necessity.
(c) Periodic review Every 3 years following the completion of the proceeding required by subsection (a) of this section, the Commission shall review and report to Congress on—
(1) any regulations prescribed to eliminate barriers within its jurisdiction that are identified under subsection (a) of this section and that can be prescribed consistent with the public interest, convenience, and necessity; and
(2) the statutory barriers identified under subsection (a) of this section that the Commission recommends be eliminated, consistent with the public interest, convenience, and necessity.
"Section 257(c) was removed from the Communications Act ... see RAY BAUM'S Act of 2018, Pub. L. 115- 141, § 402(f), 132 Stat. 1089 (2018), it was not altered in any material respect for purposes of the Commission's authority in this regard. The 2018 legislation that amended the Act introduced a biennial reporting requirement quite similar to the triennial reporting requirement contained in the former Section 257(c). See Pub. L. No. 115-141, Div. P, §§ 401, 402(f), 132 Stat. at 1087-1089 (codifying a reporting requirement at 47 U.S.C. § 163). Indeed, Congress emphasized that ""[n]othing in this title or the amendments made by this title shall be construed to expand or contract the authority of the Commission." Pub. L. No. 115-141, Div. P, § 403, 132 Stat. at 1090." [Mozilla, D.C. Cir. 2018 slip at 70]
- Senate Report 104-230, Telecommunications Act of 1996, 104th Congress, 2d Session, February 1, 1996
New Section 257--Market Entry Barriers Proceeding
Section 250 requires the Commission to adopt rules that identify and eliminate market entry barriers for entrepreneurs and small businesses in the provision and ownership of telecommunications and information services. The Commission must review these rules and report to Congress every three years on how it might prescribe or eliminate rules to promote the purposes of this section. Conference agreement The conference agreement adopts the House provisions with minor modifications as a new section 257 of the Communications Act.
- l42 Cong. Rec. Hll4l at Hll76-77 (daily ed. Feb. l, l996) (statement of Rep. Collins) ("While we should all look forward to the opportunities present-ed by new, emerging technologies, we cannot disregard the les-sons of the past and the hurdles we still face in making certain that everyone in America benefits equally from our country's maiden voyage into cyberspace. I refer to the well-documented fact that minority and women-owned small businesses continue to be extremely under represented in the telecommunications field .... Underlying [Section 257] is the obvious fact that diver-sity of ownership remains a key to the competitiveness of the U. S. communications marketplace.")
The 2018 Restoring Internet Freedom order promulgated disclosure rules based on Sec. 257 statutory authority.
Sec. 257(c) Reports
- Section 257 Triennial Report to Congress (March 3, 2011)
- Section 257 Triennial Report to Congress (December 6, 2007)
- Section 257 Triennial Report to Congress (February 12, 2004)...
- Section 257 Report to Congress, 15 FCC Rcd 15,376 (2000)
Sec. 272(a) Report
- Section 257 Proceeding to Identify and Eliminate Market Entry Barriers for Small Businesses, 12 FCC Rcd 16,802 (1997) [ Text Version | WordPerfect Version
- Section 257 Proceeding to Identify and Eliminate Market Entry Barriers for Small Businesses (Notice of Inquiry), 11 FCC Rcd 6280 (l996)
- Open Internet Order, para 531 (2015) (“section 257 imposes certain obligations on the Commission without creating enforceable obligations that the Commission would apply to telecommunications carriers or telecommunications services, so we do not forbear from applying those provisions.”)
- The Office Of Communications Business Opportunities And The Media Bureau Announce The Release Of A Request For Quotation For Study Examining The Critical Information Needs Of The American Public, BO Docket No. 12-30, February 6, 2012
- Public Interest Statement Section 257 Letter, Benton Foundation, March 8, 2010 ("As you know, Congress requires a review every three years of the Commission's efforts to promote opportunities for "the provision and ownership of telecommunications services and information services" by entrepreneurs and other small businesses.2 Section 257 instructs the Commission not only to report on any "market entry barriers for [such] entrepreneurs and other small businesses" but also to eliminate such barriers.3 The Commission's emphasis in such endeavors must include enhancing representation in media and telecommunications for typically marginalized communities and underrepresented populations. Thus, Section 257 must be read in conjunction and in harmony with the Commission's obligation to promote the dissemination of licenses to "businesses owned by members of minority groups and women."")
- Letter from Asian American Justice Center et al. to Hon. Julius Genachowski, GN Docket No. 09-51 (filed Feb. 16, 2010)
- David Honig and Moushumi, Section 257 - Eliminating Market Entry Barriers: The Best Hope for Diversity and Inclusion, The Leadership Conference ("Section 257 was written in response to the concern that other provisions in the l996 Telecommunications Act might lead to greater consolidation of the telecommunications industry without concern for diversity in media ownership or content. Underlying Congress' concern for entry barriers affecting small businesses was a specific concern that among these barriers were race and gender discrimination, and that remedial steps were necessary to repair their ill effects. Civil rights advocates, particularly Congressman Bobby Rush (D-IL) and Congresswoman Cardiss Collins (D-IL) felt that diversity needed Congressional protection in light of Adarand III, which held race-conscious federal programs to a very high standard of constitutional review, and in light of Congress' repeal of the FCC's highly successful tax certificate program. The legislative history of Section 257 supports this interpretation.")
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