Media Law Prof Blog

Editor: Christine A. Corcos
Louisiana State Univ.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

FCC Media News Bureau Announces RFQ For Study to Examine Public's Critical Information Needs

From the FCC's Media News Bureau:


Today, the Office of Communications Business Opportunities (OCBO) and the Media 
Bureau (Bureau) issued a Request for Quotation (RFQ) for a study to examine the critical 
information needs of the American public so that the Commission can more effectively meet its 
statutory and judicially mandated obligations.  A copy of the RFQ will be available at the 
Federal Business Opportunities website, located at  A copy of the 
RFQ, including the Statement of Work, will also be posted at
communications-business-opportunities.1 Separately, OCBO and the Bureau also are soliciting 
suggestions for additional studies, such suggestions to be submitted not later than February 27, 
Section 257 of the Communications Act of 1934, as amended, mandates that the 
Commission review and report to Congress on (1) efforts to identify and eliminate regulatory 
barriers to market entry 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 by entrepreneurs and other small businesses and (2) proposals 
to eliminate statutory barriers to market entry by those entities, consistent with the public 
interest, convenience, and necessity.2  
1 In the event of a conflict between this notice and the RFQ, the RFQ shall take precedence.  In addition, for 
purposes of government procurements, should be used as the official source for all documents 
regarding this procurement, not the FCC’s website.
2 47 U.S.C. § 257 (c). Subsection (c) requires periodic review and reporting by the Commission every three years. 
The Commission’s last report covered years 2006 through 2009, and was adopted and released in March, 2011. See 
Section 257 Triennial Report to Congress, Identifying and Eliminating Market Entry Barriers for Entrepreneurs and 
Other Small Businesses, 26 FCC Rcd 2909 (2011).
Upon this backdrop, OCBO and the Bureau are now commissioning a study to examine:
· how Americans meet their critical information needs;
· how the media ecosystem operates to address critical information needs; and
· what barriers exist in providing content and services to address critical 
information needs.  
In order to assess whether government action is needed to ensure that the information 
needs of all Americans, including women and minorities, are being addressed, to determine the 
relationship, if any, between meeting critical information needs, and the available opportunities 
for all Americans to participate in the communications industries, it is first necessary to examine 
what prior research has been conducted with regard to how the public acquires critical 
information, how the media ecosystem operates to provide critical information, and what barriers 
exist to participation.  
The report, to be delivered at the conclusion of the study, will be a literature review, 
summarizing and discussing the published research, analysis, and information on how Americans 
meet their critical information needs.  It will also examine how the media ecosystem operates to 
address critical information needs and what barriers exist in providing content and services to 
address those needs.  Finally, the study will provide an analysis of the relevant published 
materials and will include recommendations for definitions and performance metrics, including 
an explicit definition for “critical information needs.”  
Additional Guidance on Preparing Responses to the RFQ.  The reference number for 
this procurement is FCC12Q0009.  The solicitation documents posted at
have instructions regarding proposal submission, other guidance and contact information.
Solicitation of Suggestions for Additional Studies.  By this Public Notice, OCBO and 
the Bureau also solicit suggestions for additional studies in the 257 proceeding.  We invite 
parties to submit specific descriptions of proposed studies, including well-defined performance 
metrics that relate to one or more of the following: (1) how Americans meet their critical 
information needs; (2) how the media ecosystem operates to address critical information needs; 
and (3) what barriers exist in providing content and services to address critical information 
needs.  The deadline to file suggestions for studies is February 27, 2012.  The Commission will 
not be awarding any contracts on the basis of any suggestions received.  Instead, after evaluating 
responses to this Public Notice, the Commission may or may not choose to issue additional 
Pursuant to sections 1.415 and 1.419 of the Commission’s rules, 47 CFR §§ 1.415, 1.419, 
interested parties may file comments and reply comments on or before the dates indicated on the 
first page of this document.  Comments may be filed using the Commission’s Electronic 
Comment Filing System (ECFS).  See Electronic Filing of Documents in Rulemaking 
Proceedings, 63 FR 24121 (1998).
§ Electronic Filers:  Comments may be filed electronically using the Internet by accessing 
the ECFS:  
§ Paper Filers:  Parties who choose to file by paper must file an original and one copy of 
each filing.  If more than one docket or rulemaking number appears in the caption of this 
proceeding, filers must submit two additional copies for each additional docket or 
rulemaking number.
Filings can be sent by hand or messenger delivery, by commercial overnight courier, or 
by first-class or overnight U.S. Postal Service mail.  All filings must be addressed to the 
Commission’s Secretary, Office of the Secretary, Federal Communications Commission.
§ All hand-delivered or messenger-delivered paper filings for the Commission’s 
Secretary must be delivered to FCC Headquarters at 445 12th St., SW, Room TW-
A325, Washington, DC 20554.  The filing hours are 8:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.   All 
hand deliveries must be held together with rubber bands or fasteners.  Any 
envelopes and boxes must be disposed of before entering the building.  
§ Commercial overnight mail (other than U.S. Postal Service Express Mail and 
Priority Mail) must be sent to 9300 East Hampton Drive, Capitol Heights, MD  
§ U.S. Postal Service first-class, Express, and Priority mail must be addressed to 
445 12th Street, SW, Washington DC  20554.
People with Disabilities:  To request materials in accessible formats for people with disabilities 
(braille, large print, electronic files, audio format), send an e-mail to or call the 
Consumer & Governmental Affairs Bureau at 202-418-0530 (voice), 202-418-0432 (tty).
Ex Parte Status The proceeding this Notice initiates shall be treated as a “permit-but-
disclose” proceeding in accordance with the Commission’s ex parte rules.3 Persons making ex 
parte presentations must file a copy of any written presentation or a memorandum summarizing 
any oral presentation within two business days after the presentation (unless a different deadline 
applicable to the Sunshine period applies).  Persons making oral ex parte presentations are 
reminded that memoranda summarizing the presentation must (1) list all persons attending or 
otherwise participating in the meeting at which the ex parte presentation was made, and (2) 
summarize all data presented and arguments made during the presentation.  If the presentation 
consisted in whole or in part of the presentation of data or arguments already reflected in the 
presenter’s written comments, memoranda or other filings in the proceeding, the presenter may 
provide citations to such data or arguments in his or her prior comments, memoranda, or other 
filings (specifying the relevant page and/or paragraph numbers where such data or arguments can 
be found) in lieu of summarizing them in the memorandum.  Documents shown or given to 
Commission staff during ex parte meetings are deemed to be written ex parte presentations and 
3 47 C.F.R. §§ 1.1200 et seq.
must be filed consistent with rule 1.1206(b).  In proceedings governed by rule 1.49(f) or for 
which the Commission has made available a method of electronic filing, written ex parte 
presentations and memoranda summarizing oral ex parte presentations, and all attachments 
thereto, must be filed through the electronic comment filing system available for that proceeding, 
and must be filed in their native format (e.g., .doc, .xml, .ppt, searchable .pdf).  Participants in 
this proceeding should familiarize themselves with the Commission’s ex parte rules.
Documents will be available for public inspection and copying during business hours at 
the FCC Reference Information Center, Portals II, Room CY-A257, 445 12th Street, S.W., 
Washington, D.C. 20554.  The documents may also be purchased from BCPI, telephone (202) 
488-5300, facsimile (202) 488-5563, TTY (202) 488-5562, e-mail
Press inquiries should be directed to Janice Wise, at (202) 418-8165 or via email at
FCC Commissioner Mignon L. Clyburn responds to the announcement here.

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