The Subcommittee on Communications and Technology, chaired by Rep. Greg Walden (R-OR), has scheduled a legislative hearing for Tuesday, January 12, 2016, at 10:15 a.m. in room 2123 of the Rayburn House Office Building. The hearing is entitled, “A Legislative Hearing on Four Communications Bills.”
“This New Year we resolve to continue working to protect America’s consumers and small businesses,” said Walden. “These bills collectively seek to protect folks from the inappropriate applications of law and misuse of twenty-first century technology. The subcommittee will pick up right where we left off and I look forward to building upon our work on behalf of consumers, jobs, and the economy.”
Members will review the following four proposals:
- H.R. 1301, the Amateur Radio Parity Act, authored by Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-IL) instructs the Federal Communications Commission to adopt rules to protect the rights of amateur radio operators to use amateur radio equipment. In general, communications equipment is recognized under current law as having a societal benefit in providing access to information. Land use restrictions imposed by governments or homeowners associations on other communications equipment is currently protected by FCC regulations. H.R. 1301 instructs the FCC to adopt similar regulations for the use of amateur radio equipment.
- H.R. 2666, the No Rate Regulation of Broadband Internet Access Act, also authored by Kinzinger, would prevent the FCC from regulating the rates charged for broadband Internet. The FCC’s Open Internet Order reclassified broadband under Title II, giving the FCC the ability to regulate rates in two distinct ways: tariffing and through declarations of what are “reasonable” rates. FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler has stated that the Open Internet Order is not about regulating rates, and as such, the FCC used its authority to avoid applying the tariff authority to broadband. However, that still leaves the FCC free to regulate broadband through its enforcement authority. H.R. 2666 holds future FCC chairmen to this commitment by preventing rate regulation of broadband by statute.
- H.R. 2669, the Anti-Spoofing Act, authored by Reps. Grace Meng (D-NY), Leonard Lance (R-NJ), and full committee Chairman Emeritus Joe Barton (R-TX), extends the provisions of the Truth in Caller ID Act of 2009 to text messaging. The legislation also addresses the growth of services that allows a user to knowingly transmit misleading or inaccurate caller identification information by adding a definition of “spoofing service,” to the Truth in Caller ID Act. The full House approved the Anti-Spoofing Act by voice vote in 2014.
- H.R. ____, the Small Business Broadband Deployment Act, authored by subcommittee Chairman Walden would make permanent the FCC’s temporary exemption from the enhanced disclosure rules for small businesses required by the commission’s Open Internet Order. The bill also defines a small business as any provider of broadband Internet access service that has fewer than 1,500 employees, or 500,000 subscribers.
The Majority Memorandum, a witness list, and witness testimony will be available here as they are posted.