Telecom group backs FCC reform bills

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Under Walden's bills, the FCC would be required to identify a market failure or regulatory barrier to investment before adopting new regulations. The commission would then have to perform a cost-benefit analysis to demonstrate the new rules benefit the public interest.

McCormick argues the bills will ensure transparency and increase certainty for firms while eliminating "the need to file costly and burdensome reports that are no longer necessary" in today's more competitive communications marketplace.

Both McCormick and Walden have been clear that the legislation is not directed at the current leadership of the FCC, with Walden crediting Chairman Julius Genachowski for improving many of the processes at the agency.

But House Republicans including Walden were vocally displeased with the FCC's Open Internet order, which will allow the agency to enforce net-neutrality rules on traditional wired broadband providers if it stands up to a series of court challenges.

The House GOP tried unsuccessfully to repeal the net-neutrality rules, with that effort failing in the Senate. The number and range of conditions imposed on the merger of NBC Universal and Comcast also drew the ire of many Republicans.

Observers have noted an increasingly acrimonious relationship between the FCC and some of the major telecom providers, who have taken issue with everything from net neutrality to the FCC's overhaul of the Universal Service Fund, its key telecom subsidy.

AT&T in particular has been critical of the FCC since the agency helped sink its proposed $39 billion acquisition of T-Mobile USA. The firm has publicly backed Walden's spectrum auction bill while accusing the FCC of stubbornly clinging to power in hopes of picking winners and losers.