Industry reaction was swift and positive in response to the House Energy & Commerce Committee's bipartisan passage of FCC process reform and government spectrum incentive legislation Dec. 11 in a smooth markup session.
"NAB appreciates the efforts of the House Energy & Commerce Committee on reaching a bipartisan agreement and passing FCC process reform legislation,” said Dennis Wharton, National Association of Broadcasters spokesman. “This bill is an important step in helping broadcasters carry out their mission to serve the public interest by making the FCC more efficient. NAB looks forward to working with the Committee and all stakeholders on ensuring the FCC can perform its duties in an expeditious and data-driven manner."
The bill sets maximum comment periods and takes other steps to speed FCC processes and make them more transparent.
“The [government spectrum] bill provides a creative way to repurpose federal spectrum that isn’t being utilized or used efficiently and in doing so will help the commercial mobile industry gain access to spectrum it needs to maintain America’s place as the world’s leader in wireless broadband service," said Jot Carpenter, VP of government affairs, CTIA-The Wireless Association. "This is an innovative bill and it deserves the support of the full House.”
“CTIA also congratulates [Communications Subcommittee] Chairman [Greg] Walden on passage of the FCC Process Reform Act. We share his view that a streamlined, more predictable regulatory process will enhance regulatory certainty and promote economic growth, innovation and job creation. With this in mind, we are appreciative that Chairman Walden and Ranking Member Eshoo were able to reach agreement on the bill and hope it will be approved by the full House at the earliest possible date.”
“The dynamic communications marketplace needs a regulatory structure with processes and procedures to match," said David Cohen, executive VP of Comcast. "We applaud Chairman Walden and Ranking Member Eshoo for their bipartisan efforts to bring substantive regulatory reforms to the Commission. We look forward to the full House of Representatives considering and passing the legislation.”
"We applaud Chairman Walden, Ranking Member Eshoo and members of the House Communications and Technology Subcommittee for moving the FCC Process Reform Act through the committee," said National Cable & Telecommunications Association President Michael Powell. "It is our firm belief that this bipartisan legislation advances our shared goal of encouraging greater transparency and predictability in agency decision making. We encourage the full House to act quickly in considering and approving this legislation."
“The dynamic communications marketplace needs a regulatory structure with processes and procedures to match," said David Cohen, EVP of Comcast. "We applaud Chairman Walden and Ranking Member Eshoo for their bipartisan efforts to bring substantive regulatory reforms to the Commission. We look forward to the full House of Representatives considering and passing the legislation.”
"I applaud the Committee on Energy and Commerce of the U.S. House of Representatives for passing by voice vote H.R. 3675, the Federal Communications Commission Process Reform Act of 2013, and I commend the leaders of the Committee’s Subcommittee on Communications and Technology—Chairman [Greg] Walden and Ranking Member [Anna] Eshoo—for their bipartisan efforts to advance this important legislation," said FCC Commissioner Ajit Pai in a statement.
"All too often, proceedings at the FCC drag on for many years, leaving consumers and businesses alike waiting for the Commission to make a decision. This legislation adopts common-sense reforms that would help us become more responsive. Among other things, it makes it easier for Commissioners to collaborate, requires the Commission to set deadlines for resolving certain routine issues, and asks the Commission to report back to Congress and the public on our progress in meeting those deadlines. This is straightforward, good-government legislation, and I hope that the U.S. House and Senate will act quickly to send this bill to the President for his signature."
"We believe the [government spectrum incentive] legislation, while not practical for all government agencies, provides a workable alternative to those agencies that have stopped using or have found alternative systems for their wireless communications needs," said AT&T EVP fedreal relations Tim McKone. "The approaching spectrum crunch calls for unique proposals like this and others that will provide federal agencies the funding they need to research and develop new techniques and systems that will allow the agency to perform their mission. This bill’s approach directly incents agencies to clear spectrum for commercial auction, which will ultimately translate into economic growth, and, importantly, provide consumers with new and innovative mobile Internet services.”
“The FCC process reform bill modernizes FCC practices and procedures. These much needed institutional reforms will help arm the agency with the tools to keep pace with the Internet speed of today’s marketplace. It will also ensure that outmoded regulatory practices for today’s competitive marketplace are properly placed in the dustbin of history.”
“Verizon applauds Representative [Doris] Matsui's and [Brett] Guthrie's efforts to find incentives to encourage federal agencies to become more efficient spectrum users," said Peter Davidson, SVP, federal government relations for Verizon. "Their concept of providing funding to individual agencies that either relinquish spectrum or share it with other agencies would provide another important tool for making more spectrum available for commercial use and to the benefit of the American consumer.”
“The legislation approved by the House Energy and Commerce Committee today is an important step that will provide for streamlined regulatory processes and are complimentary to reform initiatives underway by Federal Communications Commission Chairman Tom Wheeler," said Walter McCormick Jr., president, USTelecom. "We look forward to working with the Senate to get this common sense legislation enacted.”
One of Wheeler's first actions as chairman was to call for a report on reforming FCC processes on his desk by the end of December. At the markup, Rep. Greg Walden (R-Ore.), chairman of the Communications Subcommittee, said that many of the bill's reforms could be done by the FCC on its own dime.
A vote on the bills in the House is expected in January.