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Telcos Will See a More Activist Congress

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capitol21I’d better hightail it to Washington, because a reshuffling of Congressional Committee members is poised to herald more regulation for telecommunications firms on issues ranging from rural access to Net Neutrality. Yesterday Rep. Henry Waxman ascended to the head of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce — which you may remember for its investigation into how web firms use consumer data — and convened two hearings into online privacy.

As the head of that committee, Waxman has considerable influence over its agenda. The Wall Street Journal speculates that Waxman will delegate many telecommunications issues to Rep. Ed Markey, of Massachusetts, who has already pushed for a Net Neutrality bill, and has a fondness for consumer issues.

In the Upper House, Sen. Jay Rockefeller from West Virginia will likely be named the head of the Senate  Committee on Commerce, Science and Technology, and as the representative from a heavily rural state, is likely to push for access to broadband. He would replace Sen. Dan Inouye of Hawaii, who will chair the Appropriations Committee. Inouye had supported Net Neutrality rules, as well as the entrance of new bidders into the 700 MHz auction.

Of course, if politicians are willing to float regulations on telecommunications, they’re also likely to float more regulations in general — some of which the pro-Net Neutrality crowd won’t enjoy. Rockefeller wants to introduce legislation to make the FCC regulate television violence, while Markey  has sent letters to the FCC expressing concern about the use of product placement in television shows.

7 Responses to “Telcos Will See a More Activist Congress”

  1. Rich Maro

    Telcos have controlled the market even after Judge Green broke them up. The NST law which they have yet to live up to is still an issue after 12 years!! 12 years ago they asked for a 45 day extension in which they received DIA revenue which made them millions monthly. â™ The state PUC/PSC’S were supose to enforce this ruling but have failed and allowed the RBOC’S to control the industry. The fairness is not there for the Bells have far too much fire power and control over these agencies. Vz was finally forced into setting a NST compliant rate in 2005 only after numerous court decisions questioned the rates. The Appellate courts have decided against the RBOC’S and yet they have failed to do as the agreement required. Howe can their be any fairness unless the RBOC’S are required to allow fair and competitive pricing to exist. This will not cause a loss of jobs but rather create more work and better opportunity for all concerned. When the bells are allowed to provide their competition with a service that is far more costly then their own how can they compete?? Enforcement is primary for many reasons first for the benefit of the consumer and secondly because it creates work and fair competition. Read how the Telco’s profit and control these industries. Why is dial tone can be provided by a cable company for less in overall price as well as quality of service? If fair competition is allowed it will certainly create more jobs and better technology.

  2. Stacey, hopefully the most meaningful change will be the formation of a “national telecom infrastructure investment policy” that enables the U.S. to eventually catch up with the market leaders in the Global Networked Economy.

    This is a perfect opportunity for our industry to support a common cause that should be top of mind — building a competitive broadband infrastructure for the 21st Century that’s offered at a consumer price which is progressive (like France, South Korea, etc), so that it’s a stimulus for American economic redevelopment.