By Communications and Technology Subcommittee Chairman Greg Walden (R-OR)
A little over 10 months ago, Chairman Fred Upton and I launched a process within the Energy and Commerce Committee to review our nation’s communications laws from top to bottom. Informed by robust public input, we continue to welcome and solicit feedback as we explore ways to update the law to better fit 21st century needs.
We are nearly two decades removed from the last update, which is light-years in the tech world. While we have surely enjoyed remarkable innovation that has transformed our daily lives, it is imperative that our laws foster continued breakthroughs and economic growth rather than hamper next generation technologies.
To help drive our #CommActUpdate conversation, we’ve issued a series of white papers, looking at everything from spectrum policy and the Universal Service Fund to broad questions of competition policy and network interconnection. While there are more issues that will be addressed with our white paper series, there are additional platforms and resources available to keep our progress and dialogue moving forward to get the feedback we need to produce good policy.
Although Congress may not be in session this month, our work continues full speed ahead. As part of our ongoing outreach, committee staff recently commenced bipartisan listening sessions with segments of the communications and technology industry and other stakeholder groups.
These meetings provide our bipartisan staffs an opportunity to dive deeper on specific topics and better understand the issues facing the modern communications marketplace. We are interested in pursuing pro-innovation policies that reflect our evolving economy. It is important to have a firm grip on how our laws impact consumers, job creators, and the market as a whole, and hear directly what ideas are worth pursuing as well as identifying potential landmines to avoid. Listening sessions provide an opportunity to round out the information we’ve already received from our previous hearings and the white paper series. We look forward to moving forward in a bipartisan and productive manner.
We will continue gathering information via listening sessions, white papers, staff and member outreach, and direct contact with our constituents. October, and the remaining months of the year provide an important window to prepare as we gear up to legislate next Congress.
Updating the Communications Act of 1934 will require strong vision and collaboration to produce new policies that better meet the needs of today’s innovation era, but are also capable of fulfilling the exciting opportunities of the future. Our work continues.