Bringing Telecom into the 21st Century:
Congress 2015 and the High Stakes Rewrite of the Communications Act

Presented by 

Wednesday, October 8, 2014
8:00 a.m. - 11:00 a.m.

In an industry that contributes nearly $1 trillion annually to the U.S. economy, any legislative change has the potential to stimulate investment and spur innovation or thwart productivity and frustrate economic growth.  This year, with both the House of Representatives and the Senate considering a legislative overhaul of the Communications Act, the stakes have never been higher. 

Leaders in the House of Representatives are exploring network interconnection, competition policy, universal service and spectrum policy in anticipation of a major rewrite of the Communications Act.  Meanwhile, leading Senate Republicans have pledged to refresh America’s technology policies through new communications legislation if their party wins control in the fall election.  In the words of the ranking member of the powerful Senate Commerce Committee – create “21st Century laws for a 21st Century world.” 

The House has already passed bipartisan legislation to modify the Federal Communications Commission’s responsibilities and a rewrite may codify changes to the FCC’s authority and its role in the telecommunications industry. 

What will these 21st Century laws look like and how can we help shape them?  What does an increasingly convergent communications infrastructure mean for business?  What principles should form the basis of competition policy in developing an oversight mechanism for the modern communications ecosystem?  What role should FCC play?  Please join us for this important discussion. 

  Panel 1: Legislative Change Overview

Former Rep. Chip Pickering, now COMPTEL’s CEO, was a key Senate staffer who helped shape the last major revision of the Communications Act in 1996. As a member of Congress, he served on the House Energy & Commerce Committee and the Telecommunications Subcommittee for more than a decade.  Former Rep. John Shadegg served eight terms and also was a member of the Energy & Commerce Committee, serving on a variety of its subcommittees, including Energy and Power, Environment, Health and Telecommunications. Former Sen. Norm Coleman served on the Foreign Relations and Agriculture Committees, and co-chaired the Senate Bio-Fuels and Medical Technology caucuses.
These former lawmakers will address why the move to overhaul the Communications Act has gained momentum, who the key players are, what is driving legislative change, whether room for consensus exists in an increasingly polarized political environment and what lessons were learned from the process of developing the 1996 Telecom Act.  
  Brian Fung
The Washington Post
  The Honorable Chip Pickering
  The Honorable Norm Coleman
Of Counsel
Hogan Lovells
  Panel 2: Changes to Communications Policy

Panelists – including current House and Senate staffers who will be working on the rewrite – will discuss the principles for reform; the impact changes and innovations in the marketplace have on the way Congress views communications policy; how the current Act has served the marketplace and economy; and what is working and what may not be. They also will share their perspectives on how universal service will be preserved in any anticipated rewrite; how competition should figure into the analysis; and how policies should handle current disputes over access to content and a free and open Internet. 

  Michele Farquhar
Hogan Lovells
Shawn Chang
Senior Democratic Counsel on Communications and Technology Policy for the Committee on Energy and Commerce,
Ranking Member Henry Waxman (D-CA)
J. David Grossman
Senior Technology Policy Advisor,
Rep. Anna Eshoo (D-CA)
Kelsey Guyselman
Counsel, Committee on Energy and Commerce at 
U.S. House of Representatives
Joseph Wender
Senior Policy Advisor,
Senator Ed Markey (D-MA)
  Panel 3: New Rules for New Times to Promote Competition in the Marketplace? 

Competitive providers continue to lead the IP transition, offering innovative and customized services to non-profits, governments, and businesses, including solutions targeted to the healthcare and education sectors.  Top government relations officials for competitive providers will discuss the pending Communications Act rewrite.  Panelists will discuss the potential impact a rewrite could have on investment, competitors’ priorities, remaining market barriers that Congress can lower to achieve more investment and innovation.  They will also address statutory changes that would offer greater certainty to all parties.

  Eric Einhorn
Senior Vice President, Government Affairs
Kristie Ince
Vice President, Regulatory Affairs
Chief Advocate and General Counsel
  Lisa Youngers
Vice President and Assistant General Counsel, Federal Affairs
XO Communications