Pallone and Doyle on House Passage of Five Communications and Technology Bills
Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ) and Communications and Technology Subcommittee Chairman Mike Doyle (D-PA) released the following joint statement after the House of Representatives passed five communications and technology bills today:
“All together, the communications and technology bills passed by the House today will significantly improve U.S. emergency response efforts and strengthen our telecommunications industry. We’re proud these bills will preserve landline phone numbers after emergencies, make our communications networks more accessible and resilient in times of emergency, improve media diversity, and help ensure a more secure American 5G wireless future. We are proud of the bipartisan support these important bills received in the House today and urge swift passage in the Senate.”
The House of Representatives passed the following five bills:
H.R. 678, the “Preserving Home and Office Numbers in Emergencies Act of 2021” or the “PHONE Act,” was introduced by Rep. Mike Thompson (D-CA) and 16 original cosponsors. The bill would prohibit providers of voice service from reassigning phone numbers of subscribers in certain designated areas, within an area subject to a major disaster declaration, for up to two years after the declaration. The bill also prohibits providers of voice service from assessing early termination fees to cancel service, or connection fees to re-subscribe at a new address, for subscribers whose residence is rendered inaccessible or uninhabitable due to a major disaster. The bill passed by an en bloc vote of 319-105.
H.R. 1250, the “Emergency Reporting Act,” was introduced Reps. Doris Matsui (D-CA), Gus Bilirakis (R-FL), Anna Eshoo (D-CA), Thompson, and Jared Huffman (D-CA). The bill would require the Federal Communications Commissions (FCC) to establish formal processes to take effect in instances when the FCC activates the Disaster Information Reporting System (DIRS). The bill passed by an en bloc vote of 319-105.
H.R. 1754, the “Measuring the Economics Driving Investments and Access for Diversity Act of 2021” or the “MEDIA Diversity Act,” was introduced by Reps. Billy Long (R-MO) and Marc Veasey (D-TX). The bill would require the FCC to consider, with the input of its Office of Communications Business Opportunities, market entry barriers for socially disadvantaged individuals in the communications marketplace. The bill passed by an en bloc vote of 319-105.
H. Res. 277, “a resolution reaffirming the commitment of the House of Representatives to media diversity and pledging to work with media entities and diverse stakeholders to develop common ground solutions to eliminate barriers to media diversity,” was introduced by Reps. Val Demings (D-FL) and 67 cosponsors. The resolution passed by an en bloc vote of 319-105.
H.R. 3003, the “Promoting United States Wireless Leadership Act of 2021,” was introduced by Reps. Tim Walberg (R-MI), Debbie Dingell (D-MI), Bill Johnson (R-OH) Annie Kuster (D-NH), and Ben Cline (R-VA). The bill directs the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) to encourage participation by American companies and other stakeholders in standards-setting bodies. It also offers technical assistance to stakeholders that do elect to participate in developing standards for 5G networks and future generations of communications networks. The bill passed by an en bloc vote of 319-105.