Sen. Wicker Outlines Broadband Focus

New Ranking Member of Communications Subcommittee Says Access Key to Growth, Jobs
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Sen. Roger Wicker (R-Miss.), the new ranking member of the Senate Communications Subcommittee, suggested Thursday that he would be focused on broadband deployment and the innovation and job creation it brings, which puts him on the same page as the Democratic FCC.

"As ranking member, I look forward to examining the current state of the communications and technology sectors to ensure quality broadband access to all corners of America, particularly in rural areas like my home state of Mississippi," he said in statement following his being named to the ranking post. He replaces James DeMint (R-S.C.), who announced in December he was resigning to head conservative think tank The Heritage Foundation.

Wicker's statement was all about broadband. "As our economy recovers, the telecommunications, media, and technology industries offer lessons for job creation and growth. Broadband access is necessary for economic development for the 21st-century workforce. We need the continued growth and innovation that increased broadband access provides." 

Wicker is not on the same page with the FCC, and shares DeMint's disaffection, with the FCC's Open Internet order. Along with DeMint, he was a co-sponsor of a bill in 2010 that would have blocked the FCC's implementation of the network neutrality regs, which are currently being challenged in court.

He also signaled he would like to review telecom laws to make sure they "enhance marketplace flexibility, promoting the best services at the most competitive rates to consumers," while also "achieving a level playing field for all broadband providers."