Congress Invites Public Comments on Updating the Communications Act

By Renee Dopplick, ACM Director of Public Policy
January 9, 2014

The House Energy and Commerce Committee is seeking public comments on a white paper released yesterday on “Modernizing the Communications Act.” The public comments will help inform the Committee as it reviews and updates the Communications Act. The comprehensive reform is anticipated to be a multiyear process. The deadline for public comments is January 31, 2014.

The Committee invites public comments on the following issues:

1. The current Communications Act is structured around particular services. Does this structure work for the modern communications sector? If not, around what structures or principles should the titles of the Communications Act revolve?

2. What should a modern Communications Act look like? Which provisions should be retained from the existing Act, which provisions need to be adapted for today’s communications environment, and which should be eliminated?

3. Are the structure and jurisdiction of the FCC in need of change? How should they be tailored to address systemic change in communications?

4. As noted, the rapidly evolving nature of technology can make it difficult to legislate and regulate communications services. How do we create a set of laws flexible enough to have staying power? How can the laws be more technology-neutral?

5. Does the distinction between information and telecommunications services continue to serve a purpose? If not, how should the two be rationalized?

Instructions for submitting public comments are provided in the White Paper.

The House Energy and Commerce Committee provides updates and additional resources.