Sen. Wicker Outlines Broadband Focus

Sen. Roger Wicker (R-Miss.), the new ranking member of the
Senate Communications Subcommittee, suggested Thursday that he would be focused
on broadband deployment and the innovation and job creation it brings, which
puts him on the same page as the Democratic FCC.

"As ranking member, I look forward to examining the current
state of the communications and technology sectors to ensure quality broadband
access to all corners of America, particularly in rural areas like my home
state of Mississippi," he said in statement following his being named to the
ranking post. He replaces James DeMint (R-S.C.), whoannounced in December he was resigning to head conservative think tank The
Heritage Foundation.

Wicker's statement was all about broadband. "As our economy
recovers, the telecommunications, media, and technology industries offer
lessons for job creation and growth. Broadband access is necessary for economic
development for the 21st-century workforce. We need the continued growth and
innovation that increased broadband access provides." 

Wicker is not on the same page with the FCC, and shares
DeMint's disaffection, with the FCC's Open Internet order. Along with DeMint,
he was a co-sponsor of a bill in 2010 that would have blocked the FCC's
implementation of the network neutrality regs, whichare currently being challenged in court.

He also signaled he would like to review telecom laws to
make sure they "enhance marketplace flexibility, promoting the best
services at the most competitive rates to consumers," while also
"achieving a level playing field for all broadband providers."

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.