FCC's Solomon to testify at telecom hearing


David Solomon, chief of the FCC's Enforcement Bureau, is scheduled to testify before the House Telecommunications and Internet Subcommittee next Thursday, at the same time his new bosses will be undergoing a confirmation hearing in the Senate.

Solomon will talk about the FCC's enforcement authority with regard to the 1996 Telecommunications Act. Subcommittee Chairman Fred Upton (R-Mich.) has sponsored a bill that would allow the FCC to charge incumbent phone companies much higher fines for violating competition provisions of the Act. Upton and House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Billy Tauzin (R-La.) plan to get that bill added to Tauzin's broadband deregulation bill and move the whole package to the floor of the House for a vote.

No vote on the broadband bill will come this month, Upton said during a Friday speech to the Federal Communications Bar Association in Washington. Upton discussed an ambitious committee agenda, focusing on broadband deployment, making third-generation spectrum available for high-speed wireless data uses and speeding up the DTV transition.

Upton also said he hopes to hold a hearing on 3G wireless services, which may need to run on some retaken broadcast spectrum, by mid-summer. So far, he said, the new Department of Commerce hasn't been ready to send someone to testify and the Bush Administration has yet to nominate a new National Telecommunications and Information Administration chief. - Paige Albiniak