Archives: Technology and Communications

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FCC Chairman Ajit Pai Nominated for Second Term

Legislative Activity Bill on Unwanted Robocalls and Texts Introduced in Senate On March 8, Sens. Edward Markey (D-MA) and Mike Lee (R-UT) introduced the Help Americans Never Get Unwanted Phone Calls (HANGUP) Act of 2017. The legislation, a version of which was introduced in 2016, would eliminate a provision of the 2015 Bipartisan Budget Act … Continue Reading

FCC Partially Stays Broadband Privacy Data Security Rule, Issues Tentative Agenda for March 23 Open Meeting

Legislative Activity Cybersecurity Legislation Introduced in the House and Senate On March 2, legislators in both the House of Representatives (House) and the Senate introduced several bills relating to cybersecurity reforms. As of this writing, the text of the bills below has not been publicly released. The following bills were introduced in the House: H.R.1340, … Continue Reading

FCC Extends Exemption from Enhanced Broadband Reporting Requirements for Smaller Broadband Providers

Legislative Activity Cell Location Privacy Act Introduced in House On February 15, Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) introduced H.R.1061, the Cell Location Privacy Act of 2017. The bill proposes to ban the use of cell-site simulators, known as StingRay devices, without first obtaining a warrant. Cell-site simulators are devices that appear to be legitimate cell phone … Continue Reading

FCC Announces Close of Forward Auction Clock Phase of Incentive Auction

Legislative Activity House Approves Email Privacy Act On February 6, the U.S. House of Representatives (House) passed H.R.387, the Email Privacy Act, by voice vote. The bill updates part of the Electronic Communications Privacy Act of 1986 (ECPA) by enhancing the privacy protections applicable to electronic communications such as emails, social media posts, and other … Continue Reading

FCC Rescinds Multiple Prior Actions and Announces February Open Meeting Tentative Agenda

Legislative Activity Bill to Establish Rural Telecommunications and Broadband Committee Introduced in Senate On February 2, Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) introduced S.277, the Rural Telecommunications and Broadband Service Act. The bill, the text of which is not yet publicly available, would establish a Rural Telecommunications and Broadband Advisory Committee within the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). … Continue Reading

Communications Bills Advance in House and Senate

Legislative Activity House Passes Seven Communications Bills On January 23, the U.S. House of Representatives (House) passed the following seven communications bills: H.R.290, the Federal Communications Commission Process Reform Act of 2017: a bill sponsored by House Energy & Commerce Committee (House Commerce Committee) Chairman Greg Walden (R-OR) that is designed to make the Federal … Continue Reading

FCC’s Broadcast Incentive Auction to Close in Current Stage

Legislative Activity Anti-Spoofing Act Introduced in Senate Senate Commerce, Science, & Transportation Committee (Senate Commerce Committee) Ranking Member Bill Nelson (D-FL) has introduced S.134, the Spoofing Prevention Act of 2017. The legislation, the text of which has not yet been released, targets the practice of caller identification (caller ID) “spoofing,” which is a practice whereby … Continue Reading

President Obama Nominates Jessica Rosenworcel for Second Term as FCC Commissioner

Legislative Activity MOBILE NOW Act Reintroduced in Senate On Tuesday, January 3, Sen. John Thune (R-SD), chairman of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation (Senate Commerce Committee), reintroduced S.19, the Making Opportunities for Broadband Investment and Limiting Excessive and Needless Obstacles to Wireless (MOBILE NOW) Act. The bill, previously discussed here, here, and … Continue Reading

FCC Announces Agenda for December Open Meeting

Legislative Activity House Passes Bill Concerning Broadband Access for Veterans On December 6, the U.S. House of Representatives passed H.R.6394, the Improving Broadband Access for Veterans Act of 2016. The bill— introduced on November 29, 2016 by Rep. Jerry McNerney (D-CA)—requires the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to submit a one-time report to Congress “on promoting … Continue Reading

Rep. Greg Walden to Chair House Commerce Committee

Legislative Activity Rep. Greg Walden to Chair House Energy & Commerce Committee in the 115th Congress Rep. Greg Walden (R-OR) has been selected by the House Republican Steering Committee (the body that assigns party members to House committees) to chair the House Energy & Commerce Committee (House Commerce Committee) in the 115th Congress, which will … Continue Reading

FCC to Consider Real Time Text and Emergency Alerting Items at December Open Meeting

Legislative Activity Senators Urge FCC to Examine Zero-Rating Plans Seven senators, including Sens. Edward J. Markey (D-MA), Al Franken (D-MN), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Ron Wyden (D-OR), Bernie Sanders (I-VT), and Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), wrote a letter to Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Tom Wheeler urging the FCC to “take enforcement action against … Continue Reading

FCC to Consider Business Data Services, Mobility Fund Orders at November Open Meeting

Legislative Activity Election Generally Leaves Telecom-Related Committee Members in Place The November 8 election saw many of the incumbents on the principal congressional committees involved in the telecommunications sector win reelection. No incumbents on the House Energy and Commerce Committee (House Commerce Committee) lost a general election race, though there is some imminent movement with … Continue Reading

FCC’s Agenda for September Open Meeting Includes Set-Top Boxes, Wireless Emergency Alerts, Foreign Ownership, and Independent Programming Items

Legislative Activity House Commerce Committee Passes Anti-Spoofing Act On September 21, the House Energy and Commerce Committee approved H.R.2669, the Anti-Spoofing Act of 2015, by voice vote. The bill, previously discussed here, here, and here, targets the practice of caller identification (caller ID) “spoofing.” Spoofing is a practice whereby callers falsify or disguise their caller … Continue Reading

FCC Issues $11 Million in Total Fines to Three Long Distance Carriers

Legislative Activity House Passes Amateur Radio Parity Act On September 12, the US House of Representatives passed H.R.1301, the Amateur Radio Parity Act of 2016. The bill, previously discussed here and here, would require the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to adopt rules that would protect amateur radio operators from the reach of community association rules, … Continue Reading

FCC Announces Tentative Agenda for September Open Meeting

Legislative Activity House and Senate Committee Chairs Call for Reconsideration of IANA Transition On September 8, House Committee on Energy and Commerce Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI), House Committee on the Judiciary Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-VA), Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation (Senate Commerce Committee) Chairman John Thune (R-SD), and Senate Committee on the Judiciary … Continue Reading

FCC’s Agenda for July 14 Meeting Includes Spectrum Frontiers and Technology Transitions Items

Legislative Activity House Approves FY 2017 Appropriations Bill Decreasing FCC’s Budget On July 7, the U.S. House of Representatives (House) passed H.R.5485, the Financial Services and General Government Appropriations Bill, 2017 containing appropriations for fiscal year (FY) 2017. The $21.7 billion funding measure contains appropriations for various federal agencies for the fiscal year ending September … Continue Reading

D.C. Circuit Upholds FCC’s Net Neutrality Rules

Regulatory Activity D.C. Circuit Rules 2-1 to Uphold FCC Net Neutrality Rules On June 14, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit (D.C. Circuit) in a 2-1 decision upheld the FCC’s “net neutrality” rules applicable to providers of broadband Internet access service (BIAS), which were released in a March 12, 2015 Report and … Continue Reading

House Commerce Committee to Hold Hearing on Broadband Privacy Rules

Legislative Activity House Lawmakers Discuss Movement on Telecom Bills Before Recess and Election During a Federal Communications Bar Association lunch held June 8, House Energy & Commerce Committee (House Commerce Committee) counsel discussed pending communications legislation and the likelihood of seeing movement in the coming months. Majority counsel David Redl expressed interest in advancing H.R.4889, … Continue Reading

FCC Announces Tentative Agenda for June Open Meeting

Legislative Activity House Lawmakers Question FCC Approach on Broadband Privacy On June 1, Reps. Fred Upton (R-MI), Greg Walden (R-OR), and Michael Burgess (R-TX) wrote a letter to Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Tom Wheeler requesting that the FCC reconsider its approach, outlined in a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM), to protecting the privacy of … Continue Reading

FCC Releases Final Agenda for May 25 Open Meeting

Legislative Activity Senators Press FCC for Extension of Broadband Privacy Comment Period On May 19, Sen. Jeff Flake (R-AZ) and Sen. John Boozman (R-AR) wrote a letter to Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Tom Wheeler requesting that the FCC extend the comment period for the FCC’s Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) on a proposed framework … Continue Reading

FCC Releases Order Approving Charter, Time Warner, Bright House Merger

Legislative Activity Senate Subcommittee Holds Hearing on FCC’s Proposed Broadband Privacy Rules On May 11, the Subcommittee on Privacy, Technology and the Law of the Senate Committee on the Judiciary held a hearing titled “Examining the Proposed FCC Privacy Rules.” The hearing examined the substance and implications of the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC’s) Notice of … Continue Reading

FCC Releases Tentative Agenda for May Open Meeting

Legislative Activity 60 Members of Congress Address FCC’s Set-Top Box Proposal On May 5, 60 members of Congress from both sides of the aisle wrote a letter to Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Tom Wheeler expressing concern about the FCC’s recent proposal to change the FCC’s set-top box rules (previously discussed here). The letter stated … Continue Reading
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