Congressmen Upton, Walden Propose Rewrite Of Communications Act
December 3, 2013 at 5:23 PM (PT)
Is it time for a new Communications Act? Reps. FRED UPTON (R-MI), Chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, and GREG WALDEN (R-OR), Chairman of the House Communications and Technology Subcommittee, are proposing a revamping of the law, which was last revised in 1996.
In introducing the idea of a rewrite, WALDEN said, "When the Communications Act was updated almost 18 years ago, no one could have dreamed of the many innovations and advancements that make the Internet what it is today. Written during the Great Depression and last updated when 56 kilobits per second via dial-up modem was state of the art, the Communications Act is now painfully out of date.”
The announcement of the proposal did not indicate any details of what would be included in a revision. But NAB Presi./CEO GORDON SMITH was warm to the idea, saying, ""NAB salutes the vision of Chairmen UPTON and WALDEN in proposing a holistic review of U.S. telecommunications policy. There can be little doubt that in this multichannel, multiplatform communications world, local broadcasting remains the essential and indispensable programming source in every American community. We look forward to working with Chairmen UPTON and WALDEN and other members of the Energy & Commerce committee as they consider telecom legislation that sustains a robust future for local broadcasting."
And FCC Commissioner AJIT PAI said, "I welcome the announcement by Chairman FRED UPTON and Subcommittee Chairman GREG WALDEN that the Energy and Commerce Committee of the U.S. House of Representatives will examine how to modernize the Communications Act to reflect the realities of a 21st century marketplace. Some provisions of the Act have yellowed with age, unchanged, since the Great Depression; even those of more recent vintage predate the transformative impacts of the Internet, competition, and innovation. In a converged industry, it does not make sense to apply different rules to providers and technologies that compete in the same markets. Convergence is now the norm, and consumers, companies, and the Commission would be better off if our laws and regulations recognized as much. As the Committee moves forward with its work, I stand ready and able to assist in whatever way I can."