Congress will review the Communications Act for the first time in 18 years to bring it up-to-date for dynamic nature of the Internet era, announced Reps. Fred Upton, D-Mich, and Greg Walden, R-Ore., Thursday via Google Hangout.
The respective Chairmen of the House Energy and Commerce Committee and Communications and Technology Subcommittee, joined by former Federal Communications Commission Commissioner Robert McDowell, did not outline specific goals, but said it will be a multi-year examination of the law.
They said the hallmark act for the communications industry—first passed in 1934 and overhauled in 1996—is insufficient to meet the needs of the 21st century communications marketplace.
“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updated when 56 kilobits per second via dial-up modem was state of the art, the Communications Act is now painfully out of date,” Walden said. “Our goal is to make sure this critical sector of our economy thrives because of the laws around it, not in spite of them.”
Rep. John Dingell, D-Mich., a crucial player in telecommunications lawmaking over the last 30 years, reaction was: proceed with caution.
“Changes should not be made simply for change’s sake, but rather based on clear and documented need,” Dingell said in a statement Tuesday.
Prominent industry organizations such as the National Association of Broadcasters and National Cable and Telecommunications Association have praised the move.
“We have long maintained that many of the laws governing the communications marketplace are frayed,” said Michael Powell, president of the NCTA. “Since their creation, the landscape has been transformed — new, unimagined products and services as well as dramatic changes in market structure.”
Congress’s overhaul of the Communications Act in 1996 helped unleash the floodgate of innovation by establishing open competition policy framework to promote rapid development of the telecommunications and information industries.
What We're Following See More »
Natasha De Alencar, widow of Army Staff Sgt. Mark R. De Alencar, shared a video her daughter took of a phone call she received from President Trump following the death of her husband. "Trump opened by saying how sorry he is about the 'whole situation,' before adding that De Alencar’s husband was 'an unbelievable hero.' ... Later in the call, Trump invited De Alencar to the White House, telling her, 'If you’re around Washington, you come over and see me in the Oval Office.'"
"The new head of the World Health Organization has named Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe a goodwill ambassador for the agency, a move that has startled public health experts...A number of organizations that attended the" Montevideo conference where the appointment was announced "said in a statement after the announcement that they could not recognize Mugabe as a WHO goodwill ambassador."
"The Senate approved the Republican-proposed budget Thursday night, a major step forward for the GOP effort to enact tax cuts. The budget, which now moves to the House, is projected to expand the deficit by $1.5 trillion over 10 years. Its passage will allow the GOP to use a procedural maneuver to pass tax legislation through the Senate with 50 or more votes, removing the need for support from Democratic senators."