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ECFS & EDOCS Search -

Overview of ECFS and EDOCS searching and the FCC website.


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FCC Document Types and Numbering Systems

There may be multiple numbers associated with FCC documents; using the ECFS search interface is much easier if you know which number you have.  Any number can be searched in FCC databases using the full-text search box, or the specific field for each number can be used if available in the search interface. 

  • Dockets: Docket numbers have a two-digit year, followed by a hyphen, and a multi-digit number, assigned sequentially. Also known as the Proceeding Number.  Example: 16-141
  • Initiating Bureau Docket Numbers:  A docket number can be further delineated with the addition of a two-letter combination placed at the beginning of the docket number.  Example WT16-141.  WT is the acronym for the Wireless Telecommunications Bureau. Current FCC Bureaus are:
    • Consumer & Governmental Affairs  Bureau 
    • Enforcement Bureau 
    • International Bureau 
    • Media Bureau 
    • Wireless Telecommunications Bureau
    • Wireline Competition Bureau 
    • Public Safety Bureau
  • Rulemaking: These numbers start with RM followed by a hyphen and a multi-digit number, assigned sequentially.  Example RM-1141
  • Proposed Rulemaking: These numbers start with PRM followed by a two digit year, then a two-letter code indicating the relevant bureau.  Example: PRM15MB.  This would translate as:  a proposed rulemaking of 2015 originating in the Media Bureau.
  • FCC numbers: These numbers identify FCC decisions and begin with FCC, followed by a two-digit year designation, and a multi-digit sequentially assigned number (capped at 3 digits).  An FCC number indicates that it is a decision made by the entire commission, Example: FCC99-531
  • DA numbers: DA decision numbers have the same organization as FCC numbers - DA, followed by a two-digit year designation, and a multi-digit sequentially assigned number.  A DA number indicates that it is a decision made under the delegated authority of a Bureau or Office of the FCC.  Example:  DA98-567
  • FCC Record: The Record is comprised of the official published decisions of the FCC; the citation is formatted with the volume number first, followed by the abbreviation of the record (FCC), and then the starting page number.  Example: 8 FCC 567. The FCC Record can be found here.  *Note that the Bluebook citation format for the Record is the volume number FCC Rcd page number.  Example:  8 FCC Rcd 567
  • FCC 2nd: Abbreviation for the 2nd series of the FCC Reporter.  These citations follow the standard format for legal citations with the volume number listed first, then the reporter name, followed by the starting page number.  Example: 89 FCC 2nd 567.
  • File Number: Bureaus and Offices use internal number codes to track documents.  The format will vary by Bureau or Office. 
  • Report Number:  This is a number assigned by a Bureau, often used for public notices.  There is no standard format. 

General Notes on Using the Docket and FCC/DA Number

Docket Number

The Docket Number, also known as the Proceeding Number, can be used in multiple fields, with some exceptions:

  • When searched in the Proceedings field, all documents in the docket will be pulled into the results list. This list can then be filtered by date, filing type, etc.
  • If used in the DA/FCC Field the Docket Number it will return erroneous results -- the results list will contain materials from other dockets.
  • If searched in the File Number field it will pull up materials from the correct docket.
  • If searched in the Bureau ID field, the Docket Number will return correct results.

FCC/DA Number

When the FCC or DA number by itself is searched in its respective field the results list will include items not related to the docket searched. For example, if a search is done for "16-39" in the FCC/DA field, the database will pull up documents from 16-391, 16-397, etc.  

To ensure that the results are only for the specific document, this formatting of the FCC/DA number should be used: FCC or DA followed by a dash, then the two digit year, followed by a dash and the last numerical digits. Example:  FCC-16-39 or DA-16-397.

Combined Full-Text and Document Number Field Search

As discussed in the section on full-text searching, a keyword search can be combined with a field search. This not only allows for a more targeted search, it also allows for a full-text keyword search across multiple dockets or proceedings. The video below demonstrates this type of search.


For this demonstration assume that you need to find anything about rural internet service in two FCC rules: 16-106 and 14-28.  

Note two things in this example: 1) the large number of results and 2) the use of jargon (broadband) in the keyword search.

Use the filters on the left side of the page to further narrow the results.  Also remember to change the sort order to relevance.

**There are additional advanced search techniques using document numbers that can be performed in the Full Text field.  See page 31 of the ECFS Filing System User Guide for instructions.