The FCC is responsible for managing use of the spectrum by the public (including state and local governments). The FCC is an independent regulatory agency that reports to the Congress of the United States. Its chairman and commissioners are appointed by the President and confirmed by the Senate. The commissioners serve alternate 5-year terms.
The staff of the FCC is organized into 4 bureaus, each responsible for regulating all aspects of a particular type of service. The Common Carrier Bureau regulates wire and radio offerings provided by the telephone, telegraph and other common carriers, including rates and practices. The Private Radio Bureau regulates the use of all forms of personal and business radiocommunications operated for the use of the operators themselves as an adjunct of their primary business or other activity. The Mass Media Bureau regulates broadcasting uses of the spectrum. The Field Operations Bureau is responsible for all engineering activities in the FCC field offices relating to radio stations and wire facilities including enforcement activities (inspection, investigation, monitoring), radio operator examination and licensing, interference suppression, and communications user liaison. In addition, the Office of Engineering and Technology provides technical support for the Bureaus, regulates experimental uses of the spectrum, and advises and represents the Commission on spectrum allocation and usage matters, including those covered by international agreement. The FCC's annual budget is about $100,000,000.
Although the FCC Bureaus all report to the Commission itself, they are largely autonomous and independently manage all uses of the spectrum by those coming under their purview. Although the Private Radio Bureau manages spectrum use by businesses as an adjunct to their primary business, the Common Carrier Bureau and the Mass Media Bureau manage such uses for common carriers and broadcasters. Thus, essentially identical uses of the spectrum may be regulated in slightly different ways by each of the bureaus.
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