WASHINGTON, DC – House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Greg Walden (R-OR) today appeared at the State of the Net conference for a wide-ranging discussion with former Federal Communications Commission Commissioner Robert McDowell on broadband infrastructure, Net Neutrality, 5G, and more.
Chairman Walden and Mr. McDowell kicked things off by discussing the future of 5G. The Chairman said, “A government that can’t protect the data of its own employees, I struggle with the notion it’s going to run a complete architecture and network that will be hack-free. Nor do I think it’s in the best interest of the kind of culture and economy that we have here, that believes in capital investment from the private sector. We’re not Venezuela. We don’t need to have the government run everything as the only choice. We need to make sure these networks are safe and secure. We know there are bad actors out there and in different countries trying to infiltrate our networks, you’ve got to have partnership here for the security of the networks. Government taking it over, controlling it, is clearly not the way to go.”
The conversation continued with an update on the committee’s efforts to improve broadband infrastructure. Earlier this month, bipartisan committee members introduced more than 20 pieces of legislation that will help cut red tape, encourage innovation, and advance public safety. Tomorrow, the Subcommittee on Communications and Technology will hold a hearing on the bills, entitled “Closing the Digital Divide: Broadband Infrastructure Solutions.”
They also discussed the state-of-play surrounding Net Neutrality. Chairman Walden noted, “We ought to be able to come to find common ground to prevent the bad behaviors that all of us can agree upon – throttling, blocking. We’re going to have a hearing on paid prioritization because that gets into how the internet works today. You have, in effect, paid prioritization, CDNs. You have a situation where traffic is prioritized today. 911 calls should be prioritized over watching some crazy cat video on YouTube.”
Chairman Walden continued, “We need certainty. Certainty will drive more investment. If we just continue on with litigation versus litigation, administration versus administration, America will move further back and back in innovation. And I don’t want that to happen. I want broadband investment to go up, not go flat.”