The Federal Communications Commission is a bipartisan regulatory body that oversees interstate communications media, grants licenses to entities which plan to use the bands available, and to some extent regulates the content of these communications in the public interest.
Communications media, including radio, satellite, cable, telephone, and others, are overseen and regulated by the FCC. They help to standardize measures and regulate the commercial activity of the entities which seek to use these media, including licensing and content regulation.
The Commission’s activities are funded entirely by the licensing and regulatory fees collected from companies using the airwaves or bandwidth that they oversee. To some extent, these resources represent commodities, and futures and derivatives related to these resources have been trading on exchanges for a few years.
The decisions made by the FCC affect billions of people, on a cultural level as well as an economic one. Nearly every industry can be affected by regulations which change the nature of television, the internet, radio, or satellite technologies, or the advertising and content which is allowed, or the kinds of social interactions which are facilitated by the technologies.
In an increasingly connected world (and with the blossoming of a parallel virtual world, some theorize), the influence of the FCC is increasingly powerful.