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Congress

Walden Gives FCC a Mixed Grade

August 3, 2011

Rep. Greg Walden, R-Ore., chairman of the House Communications and Technology Subcommittee, gives the FCC a top grade on its broadband report released Tuesday.

"The process leading to the FCC's report on 'Measuring Broadband America' was exemplary. The Commission selected a commercial vendor through open, competitive bids; used a transparent process to partner with stakeholders; and leveraged its technical expertise," Walden writes in a statement emailed around Wednesday.

"As a result, the Commission and its partners designed and completed a path-breaking study helpful to all broadband consumers."

Walden is less pleased about an FCC release this week of program-carriage rules. Under the rules, cable operators may not suddenly dump videos from independent program vendors to try to gain leverage in contract disputes. The rules lays out requirements and procedures for asking the FCC for permission to temporarily freeze terms of an existing contract. The Media Access Project and some other consumer groups praised the FCC's ruling.

But Walden doesn't like how the FCC went about the process.

"The FCC based these rules on a four-year-old Notice of Proposed Rule Making that did not provide the text of a single proposed rule and did not clearly indicate a standstill rule was on the table," Walden complains. "Regardless of one's position on the merits of the ruling, this needlessly opens the order to challenge and weakens the FCC's credibility."

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