Report on past event
FTC Testifies Before the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee On Its Work to Protect Consumers and Promote Competition
The Federal Trade Commission testified before the House Commerce Committee's Subcommittee on Consumer Protection and Commerce about its efforts to effectively protect consumers and promote competition, while anticipating and responding to changes in the marketplace.
Republicans led by Sen Ted Cruz (R-TX) pilloried Facebook, Google and Twitter over allegations they censor conservative users and news sites online, threatening federal regulation in response to claims that Democrats long have described as a hoax.
T-Mobile CEO John Legere told the House Judiciary Committee that his network does not now include technology from Chinese Telecom Huawei, that a new T-Mobile-Sprint 5G network would not contain such tech, and that he would even help others try to clear their networks of the technology. That was just one of many pledges he was making to help sell lawmakers on his plan to buy Sprint.
The week of Feb 25 featured back-to-back privacy hearings on Capitol Hill to discuss principles for federal privacy legislation. Industry players that have fiercely lobbied against federal privacy legislation in years past are now suddenly calling on Congress to pass a comprehensive privacy bill. Here’s a quick look at what happened in each hearing and a few key takeaways.
The Senate Commerce Committee held a hearing a federal data privacy law -- and displayed the same political divide that appeared in a House hearing earlier in the week. Republicans and industry witnesses warned against a "patchwork" of potentially conflicting state privacy regimes, perhaps most notably the California privacy law that takes effect in 2020. Senate Commerce Committee Chairman Roger Wicker (R-MS) and various witnesses from the telecommunications and computer industries talked throughout about needing strong federal regulation, addressing concern that stronger state regulations
The House Consumer Protection Subcommittee hearing on privacy showcased both the bipartisan call for federal legislation and the reason a bipartisan bill will be no slam dunk. Republican representatives talked about privacy, but also about the need to protect small businesses, the targeted-ad based internet economy, and talked up the wisdom of preempting state attempts to regulate privacy that veer into the feds lane.
At a House hearing on net neutrality, the claims of Joseph Franell — the general manager and CEO of Eastern Oregon Telecom (“EOT”) — stood out like a sore thumb. He said, “The application of Title II as part of Net Neutrality had a dramatic chilling effect on rural telecom in the Pacific Northwest and I suspect the same could be said about the rest of the country.” He also said that since the repeal of the 2015 Federal Communications Commission order, “investors have been much more willing . . .
People actually need Title II and all of the protections it provides for internet users. Here’s why.
Members of Congress are fed up with the state of cellphone coverage in the United States and they weren’t afraid to lodge their complaints personally — with the leaders of some of the country’s biggest wireless networks. As Sprint and T-Mobile went to Capitol Hill to defend their $26 billion proposed merger, lawmakers buttonholed T-Mobile’s chief executive, John Legere, and Sprint’s executive chairman, Marcelo Claure, on the frustrating inability to get a cell signal in many parts of the country, particularly in rural areas.
As policymakers work with industry and stakeholders to ensure that all Americans have access, they need reliable data to effectively target funding and programs to meet their goals. The primary source of information on connectivity is the Federal Communications Commission, which gathers data from carriers offering broadband service. Since 2011, that data—collected on Form 477—has been displayed on the Fixed Broadband Deployment map (previously called the National Broadband Map), which shows which entities are offering fixed broadband, where they are offering it, and at what speeds.