FCC Needs Improvement in Several Key Areas, O'Rielly Tells Chamber

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By Brandon Ross

Nov. 17 — Republican Commissioner Michael O’Rielly painted a picture of an outdated, inadequately informed, overreaching and slow-moving FCC as he addressed a major communications business advocacy group.

“The first issue I wanted to raise with you is the need for regulatory reform,” O'Rielly said at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce's Telecom and E-Commerce Committee meeting Nov. 17,

The FCC has acted based on incomplete records, O'Rielly said.

“Commission records are replete with unsubstantiated, vague information about the benefits of overreaching regulations, but silent or dismissive when it comes to costs,” the commissioner said.

O'Rielly advocated for a data-driven approach to future rulemakings.

“Going forward, we must show regulatory restraint and act only when there is concrete evidence of market failure,” he said in his remarks. “The commission must resist regulating to prevent future, hypothetical harms that may or may not materialize.”

More Congressional Oversight Anticipated.

O'Rielly also said he welcomed more congressional oversight in the form of hearings and new laws when Republicans assume control of Congress in January.

“That means greater review of the Commission’s internal workings and scrutiny of its decisions,” O'Rielly said. “Expect more oversight hearings to allow Members to express their views and examine issues closer.”

O'Rielly touched on many other issues as well, including the Telephone Consumer Protection Act and the Universal Service Fund budget.

“The commission’s regulatory paradigm dates back to 1934, reflecting a bygone era of a monopoly telephone company, distinct and separate programming options, and a nascent wireless industry,” O'Rielly said in his remarks. “Let’s face it: technology passed by the FCC’s ‘silo' structure decades ago.”

To contact the reporter on this story: Brandon Ross in Washington at bross@bna.com

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Heather Rothman at hrothman@bna.com