Senate Commerce Committee chair Jay Rockefeller (D-W. Va.)
announced Wednesday that Sen. Mark Pryor of Arkansas will head the
Communications Subcommittee. He replaces former Senator and now Secretary of
State John Kerry.
Ranking full committee member John Thune (R-S.D.) also said
Wednesday that Roger Wicker of Mississippi will be ranking member of the
Look for Pryor to pay close attention to the FCC's incentive
auctions. The FCC is eyeing ways -- auction rules, spectrum screen -- to ensure
that big wireless companies, such as AT&T and Verizon, don't dominate the
auction to the exclusion of smaller players.
That was an issue for Pryor in the previous (700 MHz)
auction of reclaimed broadcast spectrum stemming from the DTV transition. At
the time in 2008, Pryor complained that the FCC -- under then Republican chairman
Kevin Martin -- "fouled up" the wireless auction. "History will show that the
way the FCC structured the auction basically helped the two big wireless
companies [Verizon Communications and AT&T] to the detriment of competition
in this country," he said.
Pryor, authorof the Child Safe Viewing Act, has also been a leading voice for
content-control technologies and examining the impact of media content on kids.
Rockefeller is introducing legislation to study media and violence in the wake
of the Newtown shootings.
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