The FCC Consumer Task Force: Here to Inform, Protect, and Empower Consumers
In January 2010, Federal Communications Commission Chairman Julius Genachowski announced the launch of a Consumer Task Force to advance the Commission's consumer agenda and promote collaboration across the agency. Joel Gurin, Chief of the Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau, was named to head the cross-agency task force.
"The goal of protecting and empowering consumers is among the Commission's most important responsibilities," said Chairman Genachowski at the time. "As communications networks and technologies become increasingly complex and essential to Americans' everyday lives, the Commission must be a vigilant watchdog for the consumer. While we have one bureau with ‘consumer' in its name, consumers are vital to the work of each of our bureaus and offices. Cross-agency collaboration is critical to this effort and that's why I am so pleased to launch the Consumer Task Force."
The Consumer Task Force was formed to play a critical role in ensuring that Commission proceedings take account of consumer interests, that consumer protection and empowerment policies apply consistently and reasonably across technologies and bureaus at the FCC, that the public is able to engage fully in FCC processes, and that the agency enhances the public's understanding of Commission work through state-of-the-art consumer information programs, seizing the opportunities of information technology.
A major Task Force goal is to help increase transparency and improve consumer information about communications services. The Task Force coordinates work between FCC bureaus and offices, and with industry, consumers, and outside experts, to reach this goal. This effort builds on a Notice of Inquiry on Consumer Information and Disclosure released by the Commission on August 28, 2009. Recent initiatives include letters sent to providers on early termination fees, the launch of a national project to measure broadband speed, and a Public Notice on "bill shock".
The Task Force includes every Commission Bureau Chief, the Chief of the Office of Engineering and Technology, the General Counsel, and the Managing Director. The Task Force has also set up a team of Deputies from these bureaus and offices who help direct consumer-focused projects and operations, and Consumer Advisors who track and provide current information from each bureau or office. Here is the current list of Task Force members, Deputies, and Advisors: