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Wireless Telecommunications Bureau


Terms and Acronyms used in the FCC Rulemaking Process

This document provides definitions and explanations for a number of terms and acronyms used in the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Rulemaking Process.

Agenda Item

At the FCC, a term that refers to the document which is to be voted on by the Commission at an agenda meeting. The final document is released to the public the same day or as soon as possible.


An FCC term, circulation is the procedure whereby items are routed to Commissioners for notation voting without a need for discussion at an open or closed agenda meeting. Voting is done electronically from each Commissioner&s office.

Docket Number

A number assigned to a proceeding opened by the issuance of either a Notice of Proposed Rule Making or a Notice of Inquiry, or if an adjudicatory or tariff proceeding, has been instituted. Since January 1, 1978, the docket numbers indicate the year they were initiated and the Bureau which initiated the docket (e.g., WT 99-266 and CC 87-313).

En Banc

An en banc meeting is a hearing held by the Commissioners to hear various presentations on specific topics by diverse parties. The Commissioners or other officials question the presenters and their comments and presentations can be used by the Commission when it considers rules. The en banc presentations are held as a part of regular open agenda meetings.

Ex Parte Presentation

An ex parte presentation is any presentation which, if written (including electronic mail), is not served on the parties to the proceeding, or, if oral, is made without advance notice to the parties and without opportunity for them to be present. The Office of the Secretary issues weekly public notices that list the ex parte presentations that have been received to date. The Ex Parte page provides a calendar of links to all of these Public Notices. These listings also include Post-Reply Comment Period Filings. The rules governing ex parte presentations in Commission proceedings are found in sections 1.1200 to 1.1216 of volume 47 of the Code of Federal regulations.

FCC Number

Sequential number assigned by the Secretary's Office to all documents approved by the Commission. This number is assigned after the item has been adopted by the Commission. Example: FCC 96-123. The first two digits reflect the year.

FCC Record

Sequential number assigned by the Secretary's Office to all documents approved by the Commission. This number is assigned after the item has been adopted by the Commission. Example: FCC 96-123. The first two digits reflect the year.

Further Notice of Proposed Rule Making (FNPRM)

A Commission term, a Further Notice of Proposed Rule Making is issued by the Commission to further clarify and seek more information and public comment on the Commission's proposed changes. (See Notice of Proposed Rulemaking)

Memorandum Opinion and Order (MO&O)

A Commission term, a Memorandum Opinion and Order is issued by the Commission to deny a petition for rulemaking, modify a decision, grant or deny a petition for reconsideration, or grant or deny an application for review of a decision. A second or third Memorandum Opinion and Order may be issued (2nd MO&O, 3rd MO&O). Other appropriate titles may also be used, e.g., Order on Reconsideration or Order on Review.

News Release (NR)

News releases are brief, unofficial summaries of FCC orders, events, or other actions. News releases are not numbered, but usually make reference to the FCC or DA (Delegated Authority) number of any related documents.

Notice of Inquiry (NOI)

A Commission term, a Notice of Inquiry (NOI) is adopted by the Commissioners primarily for fact gathering, a way to seek comments from the public or industry on a specific issue. The NOI also states where and when comments may be submitted, where and when you can review comments others have made, and how to respond to those comments. After reviewing comments, the FCC may issue a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking or it may release a Report & Order(R&O) explaining what action or non-action is taken.

Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM)

A Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) is adopted by the Commissioners to detail proposed changes to FCC rules and to seek public comment on these proposals. The NPRM also states where and when comments may be submitted, where and when comments can be reviewed, and where and when comments others have made can be reviewed and responded to. After reviewing the comments to the NPRM, the FCC may issue a "Further NPRM" to provide an opportunity for the public to comment further on a related proposal. The next step is a Report & Order.

Open Commission Meeting

The Commissioners hold a public meeting once a month to consider, discuss, and vote on items that are before the Commission. The (agenda) is released a few days before each meeting, and the (meeting dates) are scheduled months in advance. Worldwide access via the Internet to live and pre-recorded audio broadcasts of these and other FCC events is provided through the FCC Internet (Audio Broadcast Home Page).

Open Proceedings

The Office of Public Affairs produces this weekly News Release, (Open Proceedings) that lists current FCC Notices of Proposed Rulemaking and Notices of Inquiry that are open for public comment and includes pertinent Public Notices announcing comment subjects and dates.

Petition For Reconsideration

A Petition for Reconsideration is a written request submitted to the FCC for review of an action it has previously taken. Applicants have 30 days after a Report and Order is published in the Federal Register to file comments with the FCC. The agency will consider public comments, replies, and industry concerns before finalizing its initial decision. As a result of the review process, the FCC will either issue a Memorandum Opinion and Order amending its initial decision, or deny the Petition for Reconsideration.

Public Notice (PN)

A Public Notice is issued to notify the public of an action taken or an upcoming event. Public Notices can be issued by the Commission or at the Bureau level, with or without a DA (Delegated Authority) number.

Report & Order (R&O)

A Commission term. After considering comments and reply comments to Notices of Inquiries or Notices of Proposed Rulemakings, the FCC may issue a Report & Order amending the rules or deciding not to do so. Summaries of Report and Orders are published in the Federal Register. Issuance of a Report and Order triggers a 30-day period for Petitions for Reconsideration.

Rulemaking Number

A number assigned to a proceeding after the appropriate Bureau/Office has reviewed and accepted a Petition for Rulemaking, but before the Commission has taken action on the petition. The rulemaking number should appear on all appropriate documents, even those which carry a docket number.

Further Assistance

If you have any questions about these terms and acronyms, you may contact the Office of the Secretary at (202) 418-0300, TTY (202) 419-2790.

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