NEWS: Media Outlets Report on Committee Plans for #CommActUpdate

December 4, 2013

Following #CommActUpdate Announcement, Walden Outlines Issues and Path Forward

Walden: “Get outdated government rules off the books so innovators and market disruptors can do what they do and serve their customers.”

House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI) and Communications and Technology Subcommittee Chairman Greg Walden (R-OR) on Tuesday announced plans to commence a multi-year effort in pursuit of a #CommActUpdate. This morning, Walden gave the keynote address at the Hudson Institute’s event on “Retransmission Consent in the 21st Century,” outlining a number of issues that are expected to be a part of the larger Communications Act discussion. Walden’s remarks, as prepared for delivery, are available here.

Upton and Walden unveiled the #CommActUpdate effort via Google Hangout, where the chairmen were also joined by Former FCC Commissioner Robert McDowell.

December 3, 2013

Reps. Walden and Upton pushing for new Communications Act

Two prominent lawmakers want to create a new playbook for the media and telecommunications industries.

Rep. Fred Upton (R-Mich.), chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, and Rep. Greg Walden (R-Ore.), chairman of the Communications Subcommittee, said Tuesday that the Communications Act, last updated in 1996, is in desperate need of a rewrite.

“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,” Walden said in a statement. “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updated when 56 kilobits per second via dial-up modem was state of the art, the Communications Act is now painfully out of date.”

Upton and Walden held a Google chat and were joined by former FCC Commissioner Robert McDowell, who said a rewrite is "absolutely needed" because the current rules are "increasingly irrelevant." …

To read the full article, click here.

December 3, 2013

House lawmakers launch process to update aging communications laws

Goal is to reform law in 2015

Two House Republicans announced an ambitious initiative to rewrite and update the decades-old communications laws that have been overwhelmed by new technologies and new media.

In a Google Hangout Tuesday afternoon, House energy and commerce chairman Fred Upton (R-Mich.) and communications and technology subcommittee chairman Greg Walden (R-Ore.) said they would begin the process next year with a series of hearings and white papers, in the hopes of ultimately reforming the Communications Act sometime in 2015.

Passed in 1934 during the Great Depression, the Communications Act hasn't had a major update since the Telecommunications Act of 1996.

"We plan to look at the Communications Act and all of the changes that have been made piecemeal over the last 89 years and ask the simple question: Is this working for today's communications marketplace? Our goal is to make sure this critical sector of our economy thrives because of the laws around it, not in spite of them," Walden said.

Former Federal Communications Commissioner Robert McDowell, who joined the two lawmakers on the hangout, warned that it would be a multi-year process.

Of course, no major issue these days is complete without a Twitter hashtag, and lawmakers introduced #CommActUpdate during the hangout. "We want to start a thoughtful process and let everyone have their say," said Walden. …

To read the full article, click here.

December 3, 2013

House to re-write foundational communications law

The leaders of the House Energy and Commerce Committee announced Tuesday that they will begin re-writing the Communications Act, a foundational law that regulates the television, telephone and Internet industries. …

House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-Mich.) said the communications and technology sectors were "stalwarts of our national economy" throughout the economic downturn.

"We must ensure that our laws make sense for today but are also ready for the innovations of tomorrow,” he said.

Rep. Greg Walden (R-Ore.), the chairman of the subcommittee on Communications and Technology, said that when the Communications Act was last updated 18 years ago, "no one could have dreamed" of the coming advances in the Internet.

"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,” he said.

The committee will begin its review with a series of hearings and white papers next year. … 

Robert McDowell, a former Republican FCC Commissioner who has previously called for a re-write of the Communications Act, joined Upton and Walden for the Google Plus video.

"My hat's off to you. This is going to be a long undertaking and a lot of work, but I'm absolutely thrilled you're watching it," McDowell said.

To read the full article, click here.

December 3, 2013

House Republican leaders announce effort to reform communications law

Signal it will be lengthy process with hearings, papers and public comment

House Republicans Tuesday said they were launching an effort to rewrite communications law that has been outstripped by technology and innovation.

House Energy & Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-Mich.) and Communications Subcommittee Chairman Greg Walden (R-Ore.) used a Google Hangout event Tuesday to announce the launch of a process to reform the Communications Act in 2015.

They said that process would include a series of hearings in 2014, white papers on the state of the industry, and input from the public via #CommActUpdate.

Former FCC Commmissioner Robert McDowell joined in to give his thumbs up on the effort, which he said would be a long—multi-year—process. …

To read the full article, click here.

December 3, 2013

Communications Act to be updated for 21st century

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."

To read the full article, click here.

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