Aiming to ease regulatory burdens on mobile phone operators while boosting investment in the nation’s wireless infrastructure, the FCC on Tuesday adopted a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) that would streamline reporting and other requirements for carriers that seek to increase their level of foreign ownership beyond the 25% benchmark prescribed in Section 310(b) of the 1934 Communications Act. Although Section 310(b) caps direct and indirect foreign ownership of U.S. broadcast, common carrier and aeronautical radio station licensees at 25%, it permits the FCC to allow higher levels of foreign ownership as long as the proposed level of foreign ownership is not inconsistent with the public interest. The NPRM proposes to reduce the number of filings that carriers are required to submit to the FCC to gain approval of foreign ownership levels that exceed the 25% benchmark, and would also clarify what information the FCC needs from applicants to complete that process. Predicting that that the rules outlined in the NPRM will slash the number of foreign ownership petitions that are filed with the agency by up to 70% annually while reducing carriers’ legal and administrative costs, FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski said enactment of the proposed rules would “increase transparency and predictability for companies seeking to invest in the United States.” As Commissioner Robert McDowell voiced hope that the NPRM “will eventually produce new policies that will promote additional investment in the American [information, communications, and technology] sector,” Commissioner Mignon Clyburn said, “we need to find ways that companies, who are interested in investing in the U.S. communications industry, will spend less money on legal fees and more money financing our companies.” Proclaiming that “Congress put serious, and I think, generally clear obligations on the FCC to probe deeply all aspects of foreign ownership,” Commissioner Michael Copps advised his colleagues to “be vigilant that nothing we do in any of these proceedings hamstrings us from conducting the depth and breadth of analysis necessary to ensure that the intent of Congress in Section 310 is met.”