Republicans eye renewed shot at revising Communications Act

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Congressional Republicans have renewed hope that updates will soon be made to the Communications Act.

According to the Hill, the chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee and lawmakers on the House Energy and Commerce Committee are making the revisions a key priority for 2017.

It’s been 20 years since the law, created in 1934, was last updated. But as Senate Commerce Committee Chairman John Thune (R-South Dakota) points out in the report, the “endless litigation” surrounding new laws could serve as the catalyst for revisions.

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In particular, the FCC’s controversial net neutrality regulations have drawn legal challenges from throughout the telecommunications industry. The U.S. Court of Appeals in D.C. upheld the rules but now new challenges could bring the decision before the Supreme Court.

Opponents of the net neutrality rules, which reclassify ISPs as utilities, have told the FCC that the proposed regulations would stifle competition and could have the adverse effect of raising prices for consumers.

According to the report, Thune envisions a more modern set of regulations, noting that the internet did not receive enough attention in the 1996 rewrite. Meanwhile, lawmakers like Rep. John Shimkus (R-Illinois) are calling for a “black slate” approach that imagines building the FCC from scratch and designing it in accordance with today’s communications ecosystem.

Republicans, of course, have tried before to revise the law in the past few years. And in 2010, Democratic leaders voiced similar plans to overhaul the laws which provide the FCC with its authority.

For more:
- read this the Hill article

Related articles:
AT&T, Verizon say FCC net neutrality move will stifle broadband investment, raise prices
Congress could revamp the 1996 Telecom Act

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