The Next Four Years

With the Trump administration set to begin shortly, both The Hill and the Free State Foundation have offered thoughts on what the next four years may hold for the Federal Communications Commission and communications technology.

In The Hill, reporter Ali Breland writes:

Under Democratic Chairman Tom Wheeler, the FCC pursued an ambitious agenda, capped by its controversial net neutrality rules. But after Donald Trump’s election, Republicans demanded that Wheeler halt his work on any controversial items.

Wheeler will step down in 2017 and control is tilting to the agency’s Republican commissions after Dem Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel failed to be reconfirmed.

It’s unclear who Trump will tap for the new chairman, but his transition team has been staffed with vocal critics of the net neutrality rule and other Wheeler initiatives.

Republicans are already laying the groundwork for rolling back many of the FCC’s signature policy measures under President Obama, and pushing their own priorities.

Breland goes on the list five “looming fights” for the agency, including net neutrality, broadband privacy, and business data services.

Over at the Free State Foundation, “A Proposal for Improving the FCC’s Regulatory Reviews” by authors Randolph J. May and Seth L. Cooper, focuses on the need for a reworking of the Communications Act. As Randolph and Cooper write:

With a new President and Congress set to be sworn in, the time to begin a meaningful, comprehensive overhaul of the Communications Act is ripe. Pending Congress’s passage of legislation updating the Communications Act in a comprehensive way, the newly reconstituted FCC can begin eliminating unnecessary, costly regulations. In addition to completing the current Section 11 review in a timely fashion, the Commission should adopt a rebuttable evidentiary presumption that “regulations under review are no longer necessary in the public interest as a result of meaningful competition among providers of such service.” This would be an important step in fulfilling Section 11’s deregulatory intent.

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