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Communications & Technology Updates


Statement from Chairs Rodgers and Latta on Widespread AT&T Outages

Washington, D.C. — House Energy and Commerce Committee Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) and Communications and Technology Subcommittee Chair Bob Latta (R-OH) released the following statement addressing AT&T’s earlier service disruptions that affected millions of Americans across the country:  "We are working to assess today's disruption in order to gain a complete understanding of what went wrong and what can be done to prevent future incidents like this from occurring,” said Chairs Rodgers and Latta. “As we learn more, Energy and Commerce will continue to encourage transparency and accountability for those affected and ensure that appropriate steps are taken to strengthen our communications networks, which are vital for nearly every aspect of our economy and daily lives.”



Feb 15, 2024
Press Release

Subcommittee Chair Latta Opening Remarks on Securing Communications Networks from Foreign Adversaries

Washington D.C. — House Energy and Commerce Communications and Technology Subcommittee Chair Bob Latta (R-OH) delivered the following opening remarks at today’s subcommittee legislative hearing on securing our communications networks from our adversaries, like China, and advancing American leadership.  “Every minute, China is attempting to infiltrate communication networks across the globe in its quest for global economic dominance. Whether it be unauthorized access to sensitive data, manipulating our networks or attempting to disrupt critical infrastructure, the Chinese Communist Party does not play by the rules.  “In an effort to combat this foreign influence, this Committee has worked on a bipartisan basis to secure our domestic communications networks from foreign threats.   “In 2020, we passed the Secure and Trusted Communications Networks Act to rip-and-replace Huawei and ZTE equipment from our networks. That law also created a list of covered equipment and services that pose an unacceptable risk to our national security.   “Last Congress, we passed the Secure Equipment Act to prohibit the FCC from authorizing equipment from entities on the covered list.”  NEW EFFORTS TO PROMOTE US INNOVATION   “Today, we are building on those efforts by discussing five different legislative proposals that will help promote U.S. innovation and ensure the U.S. continues to lead the world in combatting Chinese tech influence.  “The first bill we are considering is H.R. 2864, which would amend the Secure and Trusted Communications Networks Act to add equipment produced by the company DJI Technologies to the FCC’s covered list due to the threat that DJI Technologies pose to the national security of the United States.  “Next, we will consider H.R. 820, the Foreign Adversary Communications Transparency Act, which would require the FCC to annually publish a list of entities that hold a license granted by the FCC and are owned by China, Cuba, Iran, North Korea, Russia, or Venezuela.  “Both of these bills are led by my colleague, Representative Stefanik, and I want to thank her for her work on these important issues.  “Next, we are considering H.R. 1513, the FUTURE Networks Act, introduced by my esteemed Ranking Member of this subcommittee. This bipartisan legislation would require the FCC to establish a 6G Task Force to develop a report on the standards development process and possible uses of sixth generation technology.   “The other two discussion drafts being considered today would require the Assistant Secretary for Communications and Information to study whether certain routers, modems, and drones produced by companies with ties to our adversaries pose an unacceptable risk to our national security, as well as technologies that could increase the redundancy and resiliency of Taiwan’s communications networks.  “Taiwan’s independence continues to be threatened by the Chinese Communist Party, and staying connected is crucial for economic and military security.  “These bills highlight the new and evolving threat that our adversaries pose to our communications networks and show that we must remain vigilant and ready to act.   “I’m proud this committee continues its important bipartisan work to lead on solutions that protect Americans and safeguard our communications networks.” 



Feb 15, 2024
Hearings

Chair Rodgers Opening Statement on Securing Communications Networks from Foreign Adversaries

Washington, D.C. — House Energy and Commerce Committee Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) delivered the following opening remarks at today’s Communications and Technology Subcommittee legislative hearing on securing our communications networks from our adversaries, like China, and advancing American leadership.  CHINA IS TARGETING OUR CRITICAL INFRASTRUCTURE “Over the past year, this Committee has held numerous hearings to discuss the many threats posed by the Chinese Communist Party to the U.S. “These range from supply chain vulnerabilities to espionage and attacks on our communications networks.” “China-based companies, like Huawei and ZTE, have emerged as top players in the global telecommunications industry. “These companies operate in an environment tightly intertwined with the Chinese government, raising questions about their independence and potential for exploitation by the CCP. “Relying on their technology comes with significant risk. “It could be used by the CCP to surveil Americans, steal people’s personal information, and even shut down entire networks. “Homes, schools, hospitals, our financial system, and the military are all in jeopardy as long as this equipment remains part of our communications infrastructure. “That’s why in 2020, Congress enacted the Secured and Trusted Communications Networks Act to remove Huawei and ZTE entirely from our networks. “That work is ongoing, and it continues to be a top priority of this committee to make sure carriers have the resources they need to remove this equipment from U.S. networks and replace it with trusted equipment. “But that’s just the first step. “China's aggressive pursuit of technological advancement is a direct threat to American national security and economic leadership. “The Chinese government's strategic initiatives, such as the Made in China 2025 plan and the Belt and Road initiative, aim to achieve dominance in technologies that are critical to winning the future. “That includes technologies like artificial intelligence, quantum computing, and advanced manufacturing. “At the recent World Radiocommunication Conference, we witnessed this firsthand, as China and Huawei aggressively worked to undermine U.S. leadership on spectrum policy and give Huawei a global competitive advantage. “Additional actions taken by China, including intellectual property theft, forced technology transfer, and state-sponsored industrial espionage, further undermine free markets, fair competition, and American innovation and entrepreneurship.” CHINA’S CYBER THREAT “Perhaps most alarming is the evolving landscape of cyber threats posed by China. “Last month, we held a hearing on cybersecurity, where we examined how foreign actors are increasingly exploiting widespread vulnerabilities in our critical infrastructure. “State-sponsored cyberattacks targeting U.S. government agencies, businesses, hospitals, and our military have become increasingly sophisticated, frequent, and pose significant economic and national security risks. ”Look no further than the 2017 Equifax data breach, which exposed the personal information of hundreds of millions of Americans or the 2020 SolarWinds incident, which gave China-based hackers access to sensitive information across the federal government. “These vulnerabilities must be addressed.” SOLUTIONS TO COUNTER THE CCP “Today, we will examine a number of legislative solutions to counter the influence of China and promote U.S. leadership in technology. “This hearing will be an opportunity to discuss adding certain CCP-controlled technologies and equipment to the Federal Communications Commission’s Covered List and how to increase transparency for Americans about which companies operating in the U.S. are owned by China. “We will also look at ways we can strengthen communications with our allies overseas and establishing a 6G taskforce to advance American innovation and win the future.” “The United States faces exceedingly complex threats from China and other adversaries that require a comprehensive and coordinated response. “This response must include efforts to secure critical supply chains, protect our allies, strengthen cybersecurity defenses, and engage in strategic competition with China in key technologies. “Failure to address these challenges effectively not only jeopardizes U.S. economic competitiveness and national security but also risks ceding ground to an adversarial power intent on reshaping the global order in its favor. “I’d like to thank our witnesses for being here today and I look forward to this important and timely discussion.” 



Chairs Rodgers and Latta Announce Legislative Hearing to Secure our Communications Networks and Advance American Leadership

Washington D.C. — House Energy and Commerce Committee Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) and Communications and Technology Subcommittee Chair Bob Latta (R-OH) announced a legislative hearing titled “Securing American Communications Networks from Foreign Adversaries.” “Our communications networks are an integral part of our lives, businesses, economy, and national security. As we’ve grown increasingly connected and more reliant on technology, these networks have become a target for adversaries and bad actors. To remain competitive and secure, the U.S. must ensure our communications and technological infrastructure is protected against adversaries, in particular the Chinese Communist Party," said Chairs Rodgers and Latta. "We look forward to discussing legislative solutions that will safeguard and cement America's leadership in this area for generations to come.”  Subcommittee on Communications and Technology legislative hearing titled “Securing American Communications Networks from Foreign Adversaries.” WHAT: A legislative subcommittee hearing on securing American communications networks from foreign adversaries. DATE: Thursday, February 15, 2024 TIME: 10:00 AM ET LOCATION: 2123 Rayburn House Office Building The following legislation will be discussed: H.R. 820 , the Foreign Adversary Communications Transparency Act (Reps. Stefanik and Khanna)  H.R. 2864 , the Countering CCP Drones Act (Rep. Stefanik)  H.R.____ , Promote Secure Connectivity to Taiwan Act  H.R.____ , Removing Our Unsecure Technologies to Ensure Reliability and Security (ROUTERS) Act   H.R. 1513 , the Future Uses of Technology Upholding Reliable and Enhancing Networks (FUTURE) Networks Act (Rep. Doris Matsui) This notice is at the direction of the Chair. The hearing will be open to the public and press and will be live streamed online at https://energycommerce.house.gov/ . If you have any questions concerning the hearing, please contact Noah Jackson at Noah.Jackson@mail.house.gov . If you have any press-related questions, please contact Sean Kelly at Sean.Kelly@mail.house.gov



Jan 31, 2024
Hearings

Chair Rodgers Opening Remarks on the Future of the Sports Media Marketplace

Washington D.C. — House Energy and Commerce Committee Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) delivered the following opening remarks at today’s Communications and Technology Subcommittee hearing about the changing sports media marketplace. “Today’s hearing is the second this subcommittee has held to evaluate the rapidly evolving landscape of the media marketplace.   “Americans have more choices than ever on how, when, and where they watch content, as well as what content they watch.   “We have seen a profound shift in people’s viewing habits, especially as streaming services have become more available and reliable.   “For decades, the only options available were over-the-air television and cable services, where people could watch live TV at a scheduled time on a television.  “Now, streaming platforms allow people to watch whatever they want, wherever they want, whether that’s on a TV, or on the go using a phone, computer, tablet, or any device that has access to the Internet.   “Streaming platforms have reshaped our entertainment habits, made our lives more convenient, and diversified the content available.  “That includes the way we watch sports, which has undergone significant changes in recent years and shifted the dynamics of who owns sports media rights.”  EVOLVING MEDIA LANDSCAPE   “Professional sports leagues, including the NFL, NBA, MLB, and NHL, are pillars of American culture.   “For decades, these leagues have broadcast their games over the air and used television to help expand their reach into homes across the country.  “It allowed every American to attend their local team’s game from their home for free.  “With the introduction of cable TV and later satellite, the number of channels and local options for consumers increased significantly, allowing even more sports coverage.   “Since then, television networks have historically held the majority of sports rights, allowing them to shape how viewers experience live sporting events.  “More recently, however, this marketplace has undergone a transformative change, shifting from only traditional broadcast and cable TV to streaming services.   “Major sports leagues are now entering into lucrative deals with online platforms. “Just this year alone, Peacock hosted the first ever 'streaming only' NFL playoff game, Amazon Prime entered into a deal with Regional Sports Networks to air MLB, NBA, and NHL games, and Netflix became the new home to WWE.  “The traditional cable TV model is no longer the only gateway to live sports content.”  CONSUMER PREFERENCES HAVE CHANGED   “People’s personal preferences are also a key factor in this transition to online platforms.  “Sports fans now have the freedom to choose services that align with their preferences, whether it's live streaming, on-demand highlights, or exclusive behind-the-scenes footage.    “Sports leagues recognize that they need to meet fans where they are, which is why they’re quickly moving online.    “However, an increasing number of viewing options has also made it more complicated for some people to find the sporting event that they are looking for.   “A recent study found that 30 percent of sport fans didn’t know which channel was airing their preferred event.    “Customers may also now have to purchase different subscriptions just to watch their team play.   “That means games that may have traditionally been free for someone, depending on where they lived, could now be too expensive for them to afford.   “And even with all of these streaming options available, the vast majority of fans are still tuning into network television—rather than streaming—to watch live sports.    “As we prepare for Super Bowl LVII, it’s important that we reflect on the evolving sports media landscape and how to ensure the fans’ experience continues to be prioritized.   “Today’s discussion will provide members with the opportunity to discuss this and other issues, as well as improve our understanding of the current status of the marketplace. “We will hear expert insight into the evolution of the sports media market, as well as potential steps that Congress can take to ensure outdated regulations do not hinder innovation and competition.”



Jan 31, 2024
Hearings

Subcommittee Chair Latta Opening Remarks on the Future of the Sports Media Marketplace

Washington D.C. — House Energy and Commerce Communications and Technology Subcommittee Chair Bob Latta (R-OH) delivered the following opening remarks at today’s subcommittee hearing about the changing sports media marketplace.  “Sports have the unique ability to bring together individuals from different backgrounds and unite in support of a common team. “When we tune in to watch our favorite team, we recognize a sense of camaraderie with those who wear the same colors and cheer when we do. “In 1921, the first live sporting event was broadcast over the radio in the United States. As more Americans bought radios, sports broadcasting grew in popularity. “In 1939, a baseball game between Princeton and Columbia was the first televised sporting event in the United States, kicking off the evolution to the sports media market we know today. “A major shift in this market began in the 1980s, when some sporting events transitioned from broadcast network stations to cable TV channels, such as ESPN.” RISE OF STREAMING “In more recent years, the pivotal shift has been the transition to streaming services. “The rise of streaming platforms has significantly altered the way we watch TV, sports included. Today, we can view nearly any game from anywhere. “Statistics show Americans’ preferences are changing from the traditional broadcast and cable TV model as streaming becomes an accessible and affordable choice for Americans. “Earlier this month, the NFL decided to show one of its playoff games exclusively on a streaming platform. This game was the most streamed event in U.S. history. At the same time, its limited reach made it the least watched NFL playoff game this year.” ROLE OF SPORTS IN MEDIA NEGOTIATIONS “While Americans have unprecedented access to high quality content and a nearly unlimited number of options of content they can consume, the amount of sports content available is fixed. “The consumer demand for sports content, combined with its limited supply and the increased competition between networks, cable channels, and streaming platforms to carry sporting events has driven the cost of rights up. “Today’s hearing is just the beginning of the discussion. Given the various changes in the industry, this hearing provides an opportunity for Congress to better understand this industry, and how it functions today. “I look forward to our discussion and thank our witnesses for their willingness to be here as representatives of the business.”



Jan 24, 2024
Hearings

Chairs Rodgers and Latta Announce Hearing on the Future of the Sports Media Marketplace

Washington, D.C. — House Energy and Commerce Committee Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) and Communications and Technology Subcommittee Chair Bob Latta (R-OH) announced a hearing titled “TV Timeout: Understanding Sports Media Rights.”  “The media marketplace has rapidly evolved over the last decade to adapt to the shifting dynamics of the sports' media rights debate and the rising influence of online streaming platforms. The introduction of streaming services, in particular, has expanded the options for people to choose where, when, and what content they view, including live sports. We look forward to discussing this evolution and better understand the innovation and competition in this market and how it has changed the consumer experience,” said Chairs Rodgers and Latta. Subcommittee on Communications and Technology hearing titled “TV Timeout: Understanding Sports Media Rights .”   WHAT: A subcommittee hearing on how streaming services have disrupted the media marketplace and how it impacts the sports entertainment industry.   DATE: Wednesday, January 31, 2024   TIME: 10:30 AM ET     LOCATION: 2322 Rayburn House Office Building    This notice is at the direction of the Chair. The hearing will be open to the public and press and will be live streamed online at https://energycommerce.house.gov/ . If you have any questions concerning the hearing, please contact Noah Jackson at Noah.Jackson@mail.house.gov . If you have any press-related questions, please contact Sean Kelly at Sean.Kelly@mail.house.gov .



Jan 17, 2024
Press Release

Chair Rodgers Opening Remarks on Strengthening American Communications Leadership with Open Radio Access Networks

Washington D.C. — House Energy and Commerce Committee Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) delivered the following opening remarks at today’s Communications and Technology Subcommittee hearing on how American leadership in Open Radio Access Networks (ORAN) plays a key role in America’s ability to win the future and lead the development of next generation wireless technologies. NEXT GENERATION WIRELESS TECHNOLOGIES   “America’s ability to win the future requires strong communications networks and the ability to lead the development of next generation wireless technologies.   “Fifth generation wireless technology, or 5G, is already making our networks faster, more powerful, and fueling innovation that is helping connect millions of Americans and devices.  “The next iteration, 6G, is still being developed, but promises to do even more.  “As these technologies become more integrated into our daily lives, we need to ensure that they are safe and secure.  “During last week’s hearing on cybersecurity, we discussed how foreign actors are increasingly exploiting vulnerabilities in our communications infrastructure, in order to carry out espionage, cyberattacks, and other activities that compromise our economic and national security.  “We must safeguard our networks from these bad actors.   “This requires making sure providers have the resources they need to remove technology sourced from adversarial countries, like China.   “Of equal importance is supporting the development of Open Radio Access Networks, or Open RAN, which will help increase competition in the equipment vendor marketplace, leading to greater choice and lower costs for consumers.”   STRENGTHENING NETWORK SECURITY   “Countries like China have amassed a significant share of the global communications equipment industry and are leveraging this dominance to flood the market—including in the U.S.—with cheaper and less secure alternatives.  “That includes equipment from companies like Huawei and ZTE—which are controlled by the Chinese Communist Party.   “Relying on this technology comes with significant risk.  “It could be used by the CCP to surveil Americans, steal people’s personal information, and even shut down entire networks.  “Homes, schools, hospitals, our financial system, and the military are all in jeopardy as long as this equipment remains part of our communications infrastructure.   “That’s why Congress enacted the Secured and Trusted Communications Networks Act in 2020 to remove it entirely.  “But that’s just the first step.  “The U.S. also needs trusted alternatives to replace this technology and compete with companies, like Huawei and ZTE.”  AMERICAN LEADERSHIP IN OPEN RAN   “That’s where Open RAN comes in.  “Open RAN enables wireless networks to be inter-operable, meaning that operators are no longer forced to rely on a single end-to-end vendor.   “This allows them the ability to mix-and-match equipment and services from different vendors, providing new opportunities for trusted companies to compete.  “With more trusted suppliers offering affordable alternatives, operators will be able to end their reliance on companies with ties to the CCP.  “Trusted operators around the world and in the United States have already begun deploying fully open 5G networks.  “It’s important that we continue to build on this momentum and Open RAN is critical to achieving that goal.”  PUBLIC WIRELESS SUPPLY CHAIN INNOVATION FUND   “One way to help spur the development of a robust domestic Open RAN supply chain is through federal investment.  “That is why Congress created the Public Wireless Supply Chain Innovation Fund.   “To date, the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), which administers this Fund, has distributed less than 100 million dollars of the $1.5 billion Congress provided.  “It is also concerning that only in the last round of awards did NTIA finally provide grants to help with the deployment of Open RAN.  “Given how long NTIA is taking to make these awards, and the types of projects NTIA is choosing to fund, I am concerned we could miss the window to make the meaningful investments necessary to support widespread deployment of Open RAN and secure our networks.   “The Innovation Fund is an important tool to help the U.S. cement our leadership in this technology and we cannot afford to jeopardize our competitive edge.   “I hope that NTIA prioritizes Open RAN deployment projects as it continues awarding these grants.  “Network security and American communications leadership are top priorities for this Committee, and promoting Open RAN is key to achieving both.  “Our job in Congress is to make sure that we are providing industry with the tools it needs to ensure widespread development and deployment of this technology.”



Jan 17, 2024
Press Release

Chair Latta Opening Remarks on Strengthening American Communications Leadership with Open Radio Access Networks

Washington D.C. — House Energy and Commerce Communications and Technology Subcommittee Chair Bob Latta (R-OH) delivered the following opening remarks at today’s subcommittee hearing on how American leadership in Open Radio Access Networks (ORAN) plays a key role in America’s ability to win the future and lead the development of next generation wireless technologies. “Wireless connectivity is critical to our everyday lives. “From browsing the Internet on–the–go, to precision agriculture, Americans are increasingly reliant on having a wireless connection.  “Companies are rapidly deploying and upgrading their networks across the country to meet this demand.”  BENEFITS OF AMERICAN LEADERSHIP ON OPEN RAN   “Open Radio Access Networks, or Open RAN, presents a tremendous opportunity for the United States.  “Open RAN promotes vendor diversity and competition in the supply chain.  “It allows carriers to mix-and-match equipment from different vendors in their networks, so they are not locked into a single end-to-end vendor.  “In traditional wireless networks, it can be costly to physically replace components of the network, when necessary, whereas Open RAN allows many fixes to happen with a software upgrade.  “More broadly, Open RAN will diversify our 5G supply chain, lower equipment costs, strengthen the number of trusted vendors, and help prevent our adversaries from disrupting our networks.  “The last time this subcommittee held a hearing to examine the Open RAN marketplace was in 2021, and so much has happened in the last three years.  “DISH deployed the nation’s first fully open 5G network, AT&T announced that 70 percent of its traffic will occur over Open RAN networks by 2026, and Congress created the $1.5 billion Public Wireless Supply Chain Innovation Fund at NTIA—over $98 million of which has already been distributed.”  LEADING ON NETWORK SECURITY   “American leadership in wireless technology is critical for both economic and national security. American companies—large and small—are leading in developing and deploying Open RAN technology.  “Across the Open RAN ecosystem, these companies are developing everything from radios, to software, to the system integration tools needed for this technology to succeed.  “While engaging with allied partners is a crucial part of making Open RAN a success, we must continue to support the efforts of U.S. companies working in this space to preserve American leadership.  “I am grateful that this issue has bipartisan support.  “This Committee has long prioritized securing the communications supply chain and supporting the development of Open RAN technology. We passed the Secure and Trusted Communications Networks Act to support the rip-and-replace of untrusted equipment from our networks.  “We passed the Secure Equipment Act to ensure that untrusted equipment is not authorized in the United States.”  “And we supported the creation of the Public Wireless Supply Chain Innovation Fund to support further development of Open RAN in the United States." PUBLIC WIRELESS SUPPLY CHAIN INNOVATION FUND   “We must now ensure that rip-and-replace is fully funded and continue our oversight of the Innovation Fund to ensure that awards are used to facilitate the development and deployment of Open RAN.  “I look forward to hearing from our witnesses, who represent a cross-section of the O-RAN ecosystem.”