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E&C Committee to Focus on Broadband, Wireless Industries

The House Communications Subcommittee will focus its energies on the broadband and wireless industries, at least according to the listed priorities on the Energy & Commerce Committees' just-released fall agenda.

"Broadband and wireless spectrum policy are vital jobs issues and spectrum legislation and FCC process reform will be at the forefront to advance wireless broadband, promote deployment of an interoperable broadband public safety network, create jobs, and reduce the deficit," the parent E&C leadership said.

While the subcommittee's chairman, Greg Walden (R-Ore.), is a former broadcaster, there was no mention of broadcasters, though they will certainly be affected by the spectrum legislation, which will authorize the FCC to pay them to give up spectrum for wireless. The emphasis in the agenda, released by E&C Chair Fred Upton (R-Mich.), appeared to be on smoothing the regulatory path for the wireless industry.

"The economic impact of streamlined regulations can be significant," said the committee agenda of its communications subcommittee priorities. "[I]n the last decade, the wireless industry has invested more than $240 billion on network structures and equipment. Combine the growing need for wireless broadband deployment with the private sector's resources, and the industry is ripe for job seekers."

There were some caveats. The agenda made clear it was not limited to those items, but they were obviously the ones top of mind. Additionally, the Oversight and Investigations subcommittee priorities include "identifying job-crushing regulations that are harming job growth." There are likely some regs that broadcasters would file under that category.

"We are pleased Chairman Upton recognizes the urgent need to make additional spectrum available for wireless broadband services," said Jot Carpenter, VP, government affairs, for CTIA: The Wireless Association. "There should be bi-partisan support for such an effort, which can help reduce the deficit, enhance the availability of broadband services and spur investment and job creation. Those are just the things America needs now."