House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI) and Communications and Technology Subcommittee Chairman Greg Walden (R-OR) last year launched a committee initiative to update the Communications Act and bring it into the digital age. At a seminar hosted by the Free State Foundation this morning, Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee Ranking Member John Thune (R-SD) and Federal Communications Commission Commissioner Ajit Pai discussed the outdated nature of our current communications laws and expressed support for committee’s work toward a #CommActUpdate.
“The original Communications Act was designed for an era of actual communications monopolies; the Telecom Act was designed for the transitional era that took us from monopoly to competition; and now, we need a new policy framework for today’s converged, competitive, and Internet-powered world,” said Thune. “Modernizing the laws governing the communications and technology sectors is no small task, which is why I am glad my colleagues in the House of Representatives have already begun examining the regulation of the communications industry,”
During the seminar entitled Reforming Communications Policy in the Digital Age: The Path Forward, Thune continued, “There has long been bipartisan consensus that our communications laws are outdated. According to my former colleague Sen. John Kerry, the Telecom Act was ‘obsolete’ within six months of enactment because it didn’t take the Internet into account. It would be a dereliction of duty if Congress did not at least explore whether and how our communications regulations can be modernized.”
“The U.S. House of Representatives’ Energy and Commerce Committee has launched a multi-year effort to update the Communications Act,” added Pai.”I applaud this effort, and I hope that it will remove regulatory barriers to infrastructure investment and broadband deployment rather than increasing government regulation of the Internet.”