The US Federal Communciations Commission (FCC) faces its first major overhaul in a quarter of a century, as proposals to update its working practices make their way through government.
A bill proposing to amend fees charged by the FCC and update rules covering its processes was advanced by a House of Representatives’ communications and technology subcommittee, taking it a step closer to a full hearing by the House.
The proposed changes aim to improve transparency and efficiency at the commission, and better position it to regulate a communications market which is vastly different from the last update 25 years ago.
In a statement, FCC Commissioner Michael O’Rielly praised the subcommittee’s approval of the draft, noting it will codify “key process reforms Chairman Pai and I have championed” that will “ensure certainty and transparency to the agency for the future”.
The draft also includes provisions to boost rural call quality, improve broadband coverage data collection, provide more information to operators about cyber threats, improve 911 (emergency call) location accuracy and establish the independence of the agency’s Inspector General.
Additionally, the draft bill calls for the FCC to conduct a study on network resiliency and submit it to Congress within three years of passage.
The bill must now clear the House Energy and Commerce Committee before being considered by the House as a whole. The Senate and President would also need to approve the measure before it becomes law.