Commissioners Update House Communications Subcommittee on Issues (7/11/12)
The House Energy and Commerce subcommittee on Communications and Technology met with all five FCC commissioners to discuss issues including communications networks and 9-1-1 outages during recent storms in the Mid-Atlantic region, spectrum allocations, process reform and Internet governance.
“You need to know that I — and a majority of this subcommittee, and indeed a majority of the House — remain deeply committed to the cause of improving transparency and accountability at the FCC,” Rep. Greg Walden, chairman of the subcommittee, told the commissioners. “The subcommittee is very interested in making sure competitive market forces, driven by empowered consumers, are allowed to work in a way that spurs new technology, innovation, and creation of American jobs. The FCC is an important player in this effort, and should not abuse its power to achieve outcomes it lacks statutory authority to accomplish on its own.”
Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel spoke to the subcommittee about public-safety communications concerns.
“Just last week in Washington we were reminded how vulnerable we are without access to communications. Weather-related power outages across the region brought life to a halt, as wireless towers and 9-1-1 centers failed too many of us,” Rosenworcel said. “Now the FCC must begin an investigation. It must search out the facts — wherever they lead — and apply the lessons we learn, so that our networks are more resilient, more secure, and more safe.”
Addressing internal procedure matters and process reforms at the FCC, Commissioner Ajit Pai stressed the need to set rules and timelines for the commission’s business.
“I believe that the FCC should more frequently employ ‘shot clocks’ and sunset clauses,” said Pai. “The former measure sets deadlines for commission action; the latter requires periodic re-evaluation of existing regulations. In different ways, each ensures timelier decision-making and a regulatory framework better calibrated to a dynamic communications marketplace.”
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