Democrats Want to Update Communications Act

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The Democratic chairs of the House and Senate Commerce Committees and their Communications subcommittees have begun the process of updating the Communications Act.

The last big update, in 1996, was short on broadband issues, a point its drafters have lamented. The move would also come as a growing number of congressional Democrats and Republicans are pushing the FCC to rethink its reclassification of broadband under the act's Title II common carrier provisions and wait for Congress to give some new direction on broadband regulation.

The process will begin with a series of meetings among stakeholders starting in June.

One of those chairmen, Rick Boucher (D-Va.), suggested recently that Congress and the industry get together to talk about a way to clarify the FCC's authority to enforce its Internet openness guidelines and implement the National Broadband Plan.

The commission also needs to clarify its power to codify and expand its openness guidelines as part of a current notice of proposed rulemaking on network neutrality.

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