Reps. Upton & Walden Examine Communications Act In White Paper
January 10, 2014

Rep. Fred Upton (R-TX), Chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, and Rep. Greg Walden (R-OR), Chairman of the Communications and Technology Subcommittee, have released a white paper report, examining the Communications Act, which is up for a potential revision. Late last year, Upton and Walden announced they hope to update the Act.

In the white paper (which can be read in full here), Upton and Walden note that there have been "inconsistent approaches to definition and regulation" due to current aspects of the Communications Act. The two politicians add that the language in the Act as it currently stands "does not contemplate the convergence of technologies in the modern digital era."

Due to this, they say that there are now "different regulatory obligations based on the mode of technology, even though many of the technologies are functionally equivalent either technologically or from the consumer perspective. Because the Commission is structured in much the same way as the Act, the assorted bureaus and divisions within the agency may duplicate certain functions and fail to cover other functions, resulting in a lack of clear regulatory authority."

Upton and Walden conclude with a series of questions about potential changes to the Act, such as, "What should a modern Communications Act look like?" and "Are the structure and jurisdiction of the FCC in need of change?" They ask for a response by January 31, 2014.

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Mark Adams
San Francisco

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