The GAO was requested to review the Federal Communications Commission's (FCC) plan for implementing its Computer Inquiry II decision. This decision deals with the regulatory problems raised by the convergence of communications and data processing technologies. The objectives of the review were to: (1) determine the major tasks which must be accomplished to implement Computer Inquiry II and the timeframe for completing them; and (2) examine the organization which FCC has established and the resources which it has assigned to carry out these tasks.
The GAO found that the FCC has made implementing Computer Inquiry II its Common Carrier Bureau's highest priority. In October 1981, the FCC also created a taskforce with specific responsibility for implementation activities. However, before that time, little had been done to plan for or to deal with Computer Inquiry II implementation. While the scope of a number of the tasks which the FCC will have to undertake as part of Computer Inquiry II implementation will depend in part on future actions by common carriers, the issues facing the FCC are likely to be complex and difficult to resolve.
Thus, given the fact that most of the tasks must be completed prior to, and in some cases well before, the deadline which the FCC has established for carrier compliance with Computer Inquiry II, questions exist concerning: (1) the adequacy of the resources assigned to implementing Computer Inquiry II; (2) the ability of the FCC to deal with problems relating to asset transfers, cost sharing, and intracorporate transactions existing under Computer Inquiry II; and (3) the capability of FCC to effectively police the boundaries between regulated and unregulated services.