Members of a key House panel this week had the opportunity to ask questions of FCC leaders on a host of current issues before the agency, including a number related to the Title II “net neutrality” debate and the aftermath of the recent broadcast spectrum auction. Chaired by Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), the Communications & Technology Subcommittee of the House Energy & Commerce Committee approached their oversight inquiries in light of a new push for FCC re-authorization legislation. As she opened the hearing, Chairman Blackburn noted that the commission has not been officially reauthorized by Congress since 1990. With a budget of more than $400 million and broad communications authority, she said, “We must reexamine the core functions of the Commission and restore a culture of humility that was lacking under the regulatory cloud left by Chairman Wheeler.”
Among other items of interest was an announcement by full committee Chairman Greg Walden (R-Ore.) that he was preparing a hearing in September that will invite industry leaders to discuss the internet ecosystem. Urging legislation to address the “net neutrality” battle, he said it was time to “stop the ping-pong game of regulations and litigation.” He added, “It is essential that we hear directly from the country’s top internet and edge provider leaders who frequently speak out publicly about the rules of the internet. It’s time they came before us and directly shared their positions and answered our questions.”
The full video of this broad hearing, along with written testimony and draft FCC reauthorization legislation, is here.
By Aaron Mercer, Vice President of Government Relations
Published: July 28, 2017