Time to Revise the Communications Act?

Posted on December 17th, 2013 by

According to the Chairman of the Energy and Commerce  Committee, Fred Upton, it is time to examine how to modernize the communications Act to reflect the realities of the 21st century marketplace.  The last time Congress adopted a major revision to the Act was in 1996, nearly two years ago.  That revision brought broadcasters competitive auctions for broadcast construction permits, something that significantly slowed the FCC’s issuance of new or major change authorizations, but raised significant revenue for the government.  A more recent amendment authorized the TV incentive auctions.

At least one sitting FCC Commissioner, Ajit Pai, cheered Upton’s announcement as sorely needed in a converged industry, where the FCC is still applying different rules to providers and technologies that compete in the same markets.  Pai also stated that some provisions of the Act have not been changed since the Great Depression.

We can’t help but cringe a little at what a significant revision would look like.  But change is coming . . . again.  It’s sure to be another wild ride.