Comments on Communications Act Modernization
7 Pages Posted: 4 Feb 2014
Date Written: January 31, 2014
We, the undersigned scholars at the American Enterprise Institute's Center for Internet, Communications, and Technology Policy, respond below to your request for comments on your white paper on “Modernizing the Communications Act.”
Our comments are based upon two foundational points. First, the historical silo-based approach to communications regulation is inapposite to the modern communications ecosystem. Second, the Federal Communications Commission’s (“FCC,” or “Commission”) functions are largely duplicative of those of other agencies. It is therefore our view that Congress should revise the approach taken by the Communications Act, eliminate the silo-based structure and replace it with a technology-neutral, competition-oriented approach. Concurrent with this process, Congress should rationalize the Commission, apportioning the majority of its functions and resources to its sister agencies. In particular, Congress should consider merging the FCC’s competition and consumer protection functions with those of the Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”), thus combining the FCC’s industry expertise and capabilities with the generic statutory authority of the FTC. More broadly, it is our view that many of the important functions and resources currently housed in the Commission can be redeployed – not eliminated – to yield a more coherent and streamlined regulatory edifice that would more effectively serve the goals of consumers, competitors, and Congress.
Keywords: FCC, FTC, #CommActUpdate, Communications Act, consolidation, silo, communications regulations, Internet
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