Reps. Upton, Walden Issue White Paper On Communications Act Rewrite
January 10, 2014 at 4:50 AM (PT)
House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman FRED UPTON (R-TX) and Communications and Technology Subcommittee Chairman GREG WALDEN (R-OR) have released a white paper taking a look at the Communications Act in preparation for a planned attempt at rewriting the law. UPTON and WALDEN announced their intention to update the act in DECEMBER.
In the white paper, UPTON and WALDEN note criticism of the "so-called 'siloed,' sector-based nature of the law and resulting regulation," which, they note, leads to "inconsistent approaches to definition and regulation" of the areas of the communications industry covered by the various titles, meaning the law "does not contemplate the convergence of technologies in the modern digital era."
As a result, UPTON and WALDEN write, "there are different regulatory obligations based on the mode of technology, even though many of the technologies are functionally equivalent either technologically or from the consumer perspective. Because the Commission is structured in much the same way as the Act, the assorted bureaus and divisions within the agency may duplicate certain functions and fail to cover other functions, resulting in a lack of clear regulatory authority."
The paper asks a series of questions for stakeholders, including about the structure of a proposed new Act, what should be retained and what should be eliminated, structural changes to the FCC itself, flexibility for the changing technological landscape, and whether the distinction between information and telecommunications services continues to serve a purpose.
The committee is inviting comments by JANUARY 31st at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Read the white paper by clicking here.