House panel trying to wrap up 2011 initiatives


The House Subcommittee on Communications & Technology came close to completing bills on reforming the FCC and on kicking off incentive auctions of television spectrum to encourage the propagation of wireless broadband. Taking both to a conclusion are priorities for 2012.

The Subcommittee, headed by Chairman Greg Walden (R-OR), released a statement on its priorities for the year.

It discussed the FCC bill under the heading “Promoting Good Government.” The statement reads, “The communications sector is increasingly a driver of our economy, yet poor Federal Communications Commission process can discourage companies from investing and hinder innovation. To bring greater transparency and predictability to the FCC’s operations, and with an emphasis on practices that help the American public and regulated parties interact with the Commission, the committee will finalize its work, begun last year with a series of hearings and a subcommittee vote, on legislation to focus the agency on its core responsibilities and make certain its decision-making processes are consistent and open.” The bill awaits action by the full committee.

The spectrum auction has gone much farther. Under the heading, “Prioritizing Jobs and Stimulating Innovation,” the statement reads, “Spectrum auctions have been a promising part of Congress’ latest and highest-profile debates, and as a Conference Committee meets to negotiate a yearlong package of payroll tax relief, spectrum is back on the table. The House-passed spectrum legislation known as the JOBS Act significantly expands the availability of much-needed wireless broadband, generates hundreds of thousands of jobs, helps build a public safety network, and produces nearly $17 billion for taxpayers. The JOBS Act is currently the best deal on the table for taxpayers.”

A third heading is “Foiling Threats to Communications Networks” and deals with cybersecurity issues.
The FCC measure is not noted on the current calendar for the Energy and Commerce Committee.