House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI) and Communications and Technology Subcommittee Chairman Greg Walden (R-OR) announced plans Tuesday for the committee to examine and update the Communications Act.
Upton and Walden made the announcement via Google Hangout, where the committee leaders were joined by former FCC Commissioner Robert McDowell as they outlined the need to update the law to better fit the communications marketplace of today.
“Today we are launching a multi-year effort to examine our nation’s communications laws and update them for the Internet era,” explained Upton. “The United States has been the global leader in innovation and growth of the Internet, but unfortunately, our communications laws have failed to keep pace.
"Throughout the recent economic downturn and recovery, the communications and technology sectors have remained stalwarts of our national economy - providing services that consumers demand while investing, innovating, and producing the high-quality jobs that all Americans strive for. We must ensure that our laws make sense for today but are also ready for the innovations of tomorrow.”
Walden said, “When the Communications Act was updated almost 18 years ago, no one could have dreamed of the many innovations and advancements that make the Internet what it is today. Written during the Great Depression and last updated when 56 kilobits per second via dial-up modem was state of the art, the Communications Act is now painfully out of date.”
“We plan to look at the Communications Act and all of the changes that have been made piecemeal over the last 89 years and ask the simple question: ‘Is this working for today’s communications marketplace?’ Our goal is to make sure this critical sector of our economy thrives because of the laws around it, not in spite of them.”
The Communications and Technology Subcommittee will begin a multi-year effort to examine and update the Communications Act. This process will involve a series of white papers asking questions about what can be done to improve the laws surrounding the communications marketplace as well as a robust conversation utilizing all platforms of digital media.
Keep up with the committee’s efforts on Twitter using the hashtag #CommActUpdate.