FCC Process Reforms Receive Widespread Support

March 5, 2012

WASHINGTON, DC -The House Energy and Commerce Committee today began consideration of the Federal Communications Commission Process Reform Act and the Federal Communications Commission Consolidated Reporting Act, which aim to improve the way the FCC operates by strengthening transparency and predictability. A wide range of stakeholders, including representatives from small community-based communications providers, state utility commissioners, wireless associations and providers, broadcasters, and cable associations, lauded these reforms that help the American public and regulated parties interact with the Commission. 
 
"Today's fast-changing marketplace requires careful deliberation before government intervention," said Rep. Greg Walden, Chairman of the Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Communications and Technology. "The communications industry is one of the few sectors still firing on all cylinders in this economy, the market is more competitive than it has ever been before, and the underlying technologies and business models are evolving at a rapid and accelerating pace. The FCC has improved its processes under Chairman Genachowski; however, even this commission has overreached its statutory authority and been less than open and transparent in its rulemaking, and we need to lock in reform with legislation to ensure that good government practices continue from one administration to the next."

In Case You Missed It
 

"Given today's increasingly competitive communications landscape, we appreciate efforts by the Committee to free providers from unnecessary regulatory obstacles that impede the development of new, innovative consumer offerings." National Cable and Telecommunications Association President and CEO Michael Powell
 
"There are other elements of H.R. 3309, such as the provision aimed at preventing "˜data dumps' right before an item goes on sunshine, that would represent significant improvements in the regulatory process. In both the Open Internet and Universal Service proceedings, there were last minute data dumps of hundreds of pages into the record. That problem calls out for a curesensible regulatory policies can contribute to the wireless industry's ability to continue serving as a catalyst for innovation, economic growth and job creation."CTIA President and CEO Steve Largent
 
"Given the breakneck speed under which broadcasters and other media companies are reshaping the telecommunications landscape, it is entirely appropriate for Congress to update the rulemaking process and find ways to make it work faster and better." National Association of Broadcasters President and CEO Gordon Smith
 
"NARUC continues to specifically endorse several provisions in H.R. 3309, including those that require the actual language of a proposed rule to be published for comment, specify a minimum 60-day comment cycle, and mandate that all commissioners have "˜adequate time' to review any draft legislation before voting on it. These provisions will necessarily improve both the record upon which the agency must base its decisions and also the resulting decisions." National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners Chair John Burke
 
"As a representative of hundreds of small, community-based communications providers who operate in high-cost rural areas long ago left behind by other providers, NTCA welcomes a dialogue on how to best ensure that communications policy is developed through procedures that take full and fair account of every stakeholder's voice, regardless of size. Transparency and regulatory certainty are certainly important to telecom industry participants, but they are essential for small, rural network operators who must make significant, long-term investment decisions in hard-to-serve reaches of the country." National Telecommunications Cooperative Association Vice President of Government Affairs Thomas Wacker
 
"We applaud the Committee for scheduling a markup of H.R. 3309, the Federal Communications Commission Process Reform Act of 2011, and H.R. 3310, the Federal Communications Commission Consolidating Reporting Act of 2011- bills that will assure transparency in FCC regulatory procedures and eliminate the need to file costly and burdensome reporters that are no longer necessary in light of the broad consumer choice and vigorous competition that characterizes the 21st Century communications marketplace of today." US Telecom President and CEO Water B. McCormick, J.R.
 
"These reforms would give the FCC important tools for benchmarking and comparing proposed regulations, an important ingredient in helping communications companies invest in new technology and create new jobs." Verizon Senior Vice President Peter Davidson
 
 "Given today's dynamic and competitive telecommunications marketplace, H.R. 3309 recognizes the need to make the FCC's current regulatory process more consistent, efficient, transparent, and market-oriented. For example, the bill would require the FCC to survey the marketplace via a Notice of Inquiry or similar proceeding before commencing a new rulemaking." US Chamber of Commerce Vice President of Government Affairs Bruce Josten