Subcommittee Discusses Recent FCC Activity with Chairman Wheeler

May 20, 2014

WASHINGTON, DC – The House Communications and Technology Subcommittee, chaired by Rep. Greg Walden (R-OR), today continued its oversight of the Federal Communications Commission. Hearing from FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler, members addressed a number of issues before the commission, including the upcoming incentive auction, the commission’s work on net neutrality rules, broadcast sharing agreements, and FCC process reform.

In response to the commission’s recent vote to advance the process leading to new net neutrality rules, Chairman Walden urged the commission to pause and consider the consequences before acting. “The modern communications landscape bears no resemblance to the world Title II was meant to regulate and application of Title II to the Internet is, at best, a poor fit. Worse still, the practical consequences of reclassification are to give the bureaucrats at the FCC the authority to second-guess business decisions and to regulate every possible aspect of the Internet,” said Walden. “Contrary to any intended effect, the reclassification of broadband service under Title II will harm consumers, halt job creation, curtail innovation and stifle investment.”

Full committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI) expressed concern regarding the commission’s decision-making processes. He cited commission changes to media ownership rules made without the important data contained in the yet-to-be-completed 2010 quadrennial review of media ownership. “These actions, in the absence of the statutorily required media ownership review, raise significant questions about the commission’s commitment to making decisions informed by facts and utilizing sound process,” said Upton.

Additionally, as part of the committee’s efforts to bring public voices into the hearing process, the committee solicited questions on social media using #AskWheeler. Rep. Brett Guthrie (R-KY) asked a question from one Facebook user about Chairman Wheeler’s future plans for spectrum policy in the United States. Watch their exchange below.

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