The Subcommittee on Communications and Technology, chaired by Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) held a hearing today with Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Ajit Pai and the current FCC commissioners. After advancing legislation to reauthorize the FCC for the first time in 28 years, #SubCommTech was provided an update on the commission’s priorities and their shared efforts to expand broadband infrastructure, enhance the nation’s public safety communications, and support the U.S. in the race to 5G.
#SubCommTech Chairman Blackburn said, “Today’s hearing marks the first time in 28 years that the FCC has appeared before this Subcommittee having been reauthorized by Congress. So, I am delighted to welcome the recently reauthorized Commission here today. This reauthorization effort reflects bipartisan, bicameral support of the FCC and the important work it carries out each day to enhance public safety technologies and alerts, strengthen our national security, increase broadband deployment, and protect consumers while fostering competition and innovation in the communications marketplace.”
Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Greg Walden (R-OR) said, “[Radio] is sharing in the same fate as newspapers, which never gained the benefits of cross ownership relief supported by the Commission some fifteen years ago – entities captured once again by regulations from another time. We seem trapped in this constant time warp that regulations of the 1970s, or the 1930s for that matter, somehow work for the present day or beyond.”
- The Honorable Ajit Pai, Chairman, Federal Communications Commission (Opening Statement)
- The Honorable Michael O’Rielly, Commissioner, Federal Communications Commission (Opening Statement)
- The Honorable Brendan Carr, Commissioner, Federal Communications Commission (Opening Statement)
- The Honorable Jessica Rosenworcel, Commissioner, Federal Communications Commission (Opening Statement)
“What can you tell us, Chairman, about the work the FCC is doing to close this digital divide, what should we look forward to going forward, and what do you need from us?” Chairman Walden asked Chairman Pai. Click here for Chairman Pai’s response.
Chairman Pai outlined the FCC’s latest actions to protect consumers from robocalls and caller ID scams. Click here to watch the full discussion.
In his opening statement, Commissioner O’Rielly testified regarding the issue of 9-1-1 fee diversion. “Underfunding Public Service Answering Points (PSAPs) can lead to significant public safety problems, including longer wait times, fewer or overworked personnel, or outdated or inferior equipment to handle the call loads. It can also prevent 9-1-1 call centers from modernizing to NG9-1-1 technologies. At a minimum, allowing states to deceive consumers into paying fees for the 9-1-1 system and transferring the money elsewhere undermines the system’s integrity,” he said.
Rep. Pete Olson (R-TX) asked Commissioner Carr about the challenges and opportunities that come with 5G deployment, particularly in his Houston, TX district. Click here to watch Commissioner Carr’s response.
For more information on the committee’s work to bridge the digital divide, click here.
The Majority Memorandum, witness testimony, and an archived webcast are available online here.