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Walden Addresses Future of U.S. Internet Policy


03.02.15

Discussion of FCC #NetNeutrality Regulations, #CommActUpdate, & FCC Reauthorization

WASHINGTON, DC – House Communications and Technology Subcommittee Chairman Greg Walden (R-OR) today spoke at the American Enterprise Institute, addressing the future of U.S. Internet policy. He discussed the FCC’s vote last week to cast aside decades of bipartisan agreement in favor of Depression-era regulations for the Internet as well as the committee’s work toward a #CommActUpdate, including a reauthorization of the Federal Communications Commission. Link to video and excerpts from Walden’s prepared remarks below:


Click to watch

Walden on FCC votes last week:

“The commission’s most recent actions step well beyond its authority in recasting the Internet as a public utility and supplanting the decisions of state and local elected officials whether to invest tax dollars in broadband with the FCC’s central economic planning. I am deeply troubled by both.”

Walden on the FCC’s Net Neutrality Actions:

“Taking the Title II path that the president decided upon is a mistake…. Title II will only lead to increased uncertainty, depressed investment, and decreased innovation. As someone who represents a rural district that is still waiting for robust and widespread broadband coverage, any disincentive to greater broadband build-out is extremely troubling. I can’t stress enough the damage that I believe this Title II approach will have on our country’s broadband speed and deployment—this may truly be the end of the Internet we know and love, if these rules withstand a court challenge.”

Walden on working with Democrats to protect consumers and the #OpenInternet:

“We have reached out repeatedly to members and staff, in an attempt to at the very least begin a dialogue on the potential for compromise, but to date, our efforts have gone unanswered. I am at a loss for how to make my plea any clearer to my colleagues; please work with us to draft a bill—what the FCC did last week is ill-advised, illogical, and illegal. And while there are other tools at Congress’s disposal to express our displeasure with this action, I remain firmly committed to a bipartisan legislative solution.”

On the role of Congress:

“There is no question that this is the role Congress is meant to play: crafting narrow legislation that achieves policy goals with certainty and stability. While we may disagree on the exact contours of good net neutrality policy, there are few people who argue that the uncertainty arising from protracted litigation benefits anyone, except perhaps the lawyers. The legislation we’ve put forward gives consumers the protections they deserve, industry the certainty it needs, and puts an end to the legal gymnastics taking place at the FCC as they again attempt to shoehorn the policy they want into the statutory authority they actually have.”

On the committee’s work to reauthorize the FCC:

“That’s why for the first part of the CommActUpdate’s legislative process, we will undertake to reauthorize the FCC. Put simply, we’ll start with Title I. If we’re going to put modern laws into place, there must be a modern agency to implement them. … The goal of reauthorization is not to tie the hands of the FCC, and it surely is not to create uncertainty for those regulated by the agency. Instead, we hope to start a useful and productive dialogue about the state of the commission, what they need us to do to make their jobs easier, and what Congress needs the agency to do in order to continue meeting its statutory mandates.”

Read the full remarks here and watch a video here.

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