Senate Commerce Committee Chair Thune Outlines His Tech Agenda


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Senator John ThuneU.S. Senate Commerce Committee Chairman John Thune (R-S.D.) believes the committee will pass his Mobile Now Act, which would free up government spectrum for broadband. As Inside Towers reported yesterday, this is one of a raft of telecom bills up before the committee for a vote today. His goal in this session of Congress is to move additional broadband deployment bills and work on legislation to update both the FCC and communications laws.

Speaking before the State of the Net Conference on Monday, Thune said he expects lawmakers to continue to craft legislation to spur broadband deployment. However, “good infrastructure policies matter very little if government bureaucrats have the ability” to veto Congress’ intent, he said.

“In a world that was turning away from legacy telecom services and towards internet services the FCC found its role gradually diminishing,” said Thune, calling it a “good outcome brought about by successful light-touch policies.”   

“Yet over the last few years, the FCC pursued policies that put government edicts ahead of real consumer desires.” Speaking about economic policies and the internet, “the last FCC chairman declared ‘Government is where we will work this out,’” Thune said. “I believe job creators should be deciding this, not the government.”

“We need an FCC that focuses more on the modern marketplace…it’s clearly time for FCC reform.” Saying “this year is an opportunity…given the growth of the internet, I’m confident we can move legislation to modernize the FCC across the Senate floor.”

“We need rules that broadband providers can easily understand,” added Thune, who added rules that change with political winds are not good. “The only way to achieve this is to pass bipartisan legislation. The reality of a Republican FCC may help inspire some of my Democratic colleagues” to do that.

January 24, 2017

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