FCC chairman Julius Genachowski plans to tell senators
Tuesday that given that the FCC is already operating at its lowest staffing
level in years, the additional sequestration cuts could have dire consequences.
That is according to a copy of his prepared testimony for
the Senate Commerce Committee FCC oversight hearing on Tuesday.
"I have serious concerns because the ongoing
sequestration cuts will harm the ability of the FCC to deliver on its vital
mission, including universal service, public safety, spectrum management, and
consumer protection," he said, echoingcomments from FCC officials on the eve of the sequestration last month.
The total FCC budget is $341,923,845. Sequestration would
cut about $17 million, and would need to be realized in seven months.
Auction-related expenses are exempt from the sequester, however.
Genachowski's testimony touches on a number of issues near
and dear to committee chairman Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.) including
cybersecurity, emergency communications and getting broadband to schools and
libraries -- Rockefeller was instrumental in creating the e-rate subsidy for
wiring the nation's schools, while Genachowski was instrumental in implementing
it in an earlier tour at the FCC.
"We need to continue to drive increasing broadband
speed and capacity," he said, "including to our schools, libraries,
and other anchor institutions. That's why earlier this year I issued the
Gigabit Cities Challenge, which calls for at least one innovation hub with ultra-high-speed
broadband in every state by 2015, and why the Commission is working with municipalities
and broadband providers to meet this challenge."
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