Skip to main content

tv   Senate Commerce Committee Takes Up FCC Nominations  CSPAN  July 19, 2017 10:54am-12:01pm EDT

10:54 am
session at noon, they'll begin work on two bills, one to increase interagency coordination among agencies vost in selecting locations for gas pipelines. and another designed to speed up the permitting process for cross border oil and gas pipeline, and also electric transmission lines. we'll have live coverage when the house gavels back in at noon here on c-span. right now we'll take you to the senate commerce committee holding a confirmation hearing for nominees to the federal communications commission. democratic nominee jessica rosenworcel, and republican nominee ajit pai, currently serving on the f.c.c. mr. pai is the current chairman and both have been nated for another term. mr. pai: i visited libraries in sioux falls, south dakota, i have seen how it's working and we want to extend that. mr. markey: you will commit to us you will preserve to the success of this bipartisan program and not decrease its
10:55 am
funding level? problematic changes -- mr. pai: we have not made any decisions on that score. we're trying to make sure the program works. mr. markey: you won't make a commitment you won't reduce the funding? mr. pai: we're studying ways to improve -- mr. markey: ms. rosenworcel, will you do that? ms. rosenworcel: it is a successful one and i believe the changes put in place in 2015 have been successful. they have reached schools and students in every state across this country. mr. markey: mr. carr, will you commit you won't reduce the funding? mr. carr: i have an open mind as to what the budget and number should be. have to make a decision when the record is developed on it. mr. markey: i haven't heard clear commitments and i think that's very troubling to be honest with you. because this is the democratizing force within our society as each of you made clear you believe that it's key for our future. reducing the fund something not going to help to make sure that every child in our country has
10:56 am
access to the technology they are going to need in order to compete not only in our own country but globally in the 21st century. i have not been satisfied with the answers which i have heard. again, ms. rosen worsele, are you saying you will not reduce the funding? ms. rosenworcel: i will not reduce the funding. mr. markey: thank you. mr. carr, mr. pai, i wish i heard the same commitment from you as well. thank you, mr. chairman. chairman thune: thank you, senator markey. i arrived at the appropriate time which is my turn to talk and hold the gavel. let me start with all three of our nominees. we're following the repack issue closely. last week the f.c.c. announced the total reported reimbursement cost received for broadcasters required to repack as a result of the spectrum auction was over we know the
10:57 am
relocation fund is only authorized to $1.75 billion. chairman moran: if that number is correct, then there is a significant funding shortfall. any request or suggestions that the commission and congress need to act to provide additional resources to prevent broadcasters from going dark? do you believe that the 39-month repack deadline is sufficient? mr. pai: thank you for the question. as you pointed out the estimates have come in. a little bit above $2.1 billion. our fund administrator and the f.c.c.'s career staff will have to evaluate those cost estimates and determine whether they are appropriate or not. that number, 2.1 could go down or up. i am in the position to say at this point that we expect, our anticipation is that the required expenses to reimburse these broadcasters will be above $1.75 billion. i would expect that it would be necessary if broadcasters are going to be harmless in this repack that congress would have to provide additional funding.
10:58 am
chairman moran: any other nominees? let me follow up, if not, about the time deadline. mr. pai: yes. we're obviously -- this is a very complex process. we have a number of different phases to which broadcasters have been assigned. we have given them the opportunity to seek position in a different phase. i am not in a position at this point to see-r say whether the 39-month period is not going to be sufficient. if we get any semblance of record that would suggest it isn't going to be sufficient, we will certainly notify the committee promptly. chairman moran: let me turn to 5-g. we're the world leader in 4-g. i am worried we're not taking the necessary steps to maintain that leadership as we attempt to deploy 5-g. i'm told by carriers that the regulatory barriers to deploy small cell networks are outdated, hampering investment in economic growth. would you agree that 5-g deployment is critical for our economy. what steps, if so, is the f.c.c.
10:59 am
taking to eliminate barriers and costs to deployment? mr. pai: i do believe it is be absolutely -- it is absolutely essential to develop 5-g. our goal is to make sure the u.s. is at the forefront. there are two basic building blocks in terms of the successful 5-g economy, one is spectrum and one is infrastructure. with respect to spectrum i think the agency is looking for several years now. a unified voice we want to be as inclusive as we can in terms of low, mid, and high band spectrum. we want to keep as much as we can for commercial use and 5-g innovators to experiment with. we did this inquiry that we'll vote on august 3. in terms of infrastructure you have pointed out one of the key problems is that there is a lot of infrastructure that's required for 5-g networks. a large cell tours we're talking tens of thousands of small cells and other small infrastructure. we need to make sure our regulatory review is tailored to the nature of the employment and
11:00 am
make sure we work cooperatively with all stakeholders, including governments, in order to make sure our 5-g economy thrives consistent with the public interest. commissioner moran: commissioner rosenworcel or mr. carr. ms. rosenworcel: thank you for the question. will forward, the network be very different in 5-g than 4-g. we'll have small cells dotting our landscape. we need to make sure not just f.c.c. policies but national environmental policy and national historic preservation policies are adjusted to reflect the realities of those facilities which are very different than traditional large cell towers. . mr. carr: 5-g deployment is very different. i say it's about jobs and the economy. we get the framework right it could be $275 billion in the next decade in the next decade. when you combine it with
11:01 am
i.o.t., you are looking at a trillion dollar boost to the economy so we need to get this all right. senator moran: thank you. let me ask chairman pie. when do you expect to have the hearings finalized to have spectrum available, the status of the spectrum frontier proceedings? mr. pai: senator, we don't have a particular time frame but we are actively studying it and we are working with stakeholders to look at the frontier bands that are teed up and we can take action where where more deliberation is needed we will obviously put those on hold. so i can't give you a specific time frame but i can tell you it's the top priority in terms of spectrum policy at the commission. senator moran: thank you all three. senator shotts. senator shotts: thank you, chairman. thank you to your families. congratulations. i want to follow-up. mr. carr, i want to ask you the first question. whether it's seven of million, eight million, 10 million
11:02 am
comments, would you say it's a record number of comments? mr. pai: -- mr. corbin: that's right. senator schatz: i understand you have a legal matter when considering this but what weight is it the fact that millions of people have expressed themselves with the f.c.c., an historic number, what weight does that get? mr. carr: senator, it's very important. it shows the number of interest and passion on this issue and it's interesting that we need take into account. senator schatz: thank you. commissioner pie, during your confirmation hearing i asked if you agreed with the president's comments calling the media the enemy of the state. at the time you didn't answer the question totally on point. and i understand. you're a trump appointee and you're trying to strike that right balance in terms of being an independent agency but still unsding you are a trump appointee -- understanding you are a trump appointee and not
11:03 am
being part of presidential politics or politics. since then the president has made a number of things about the media. he says it's fake news media, garbage media and made unsubstantiated claims about networks. the president posted a video of himself wrestling cnn with the #fraudnewscnn. on june the president fweeted, the amazon "washington post" sometimes referred to as the -- on of the newspapers guardian of news is fake news. chairman pai, since we last heard from you and given that context, have there been any direct or indirect communications about the media between you, your office and the white house that this committee should be aware of? mr. pai: senator, thank you for the question. i have consistently stated that i believe and i dare say my colleagues at the f.c.c.
11:04 am
believe that first amendment freedoms, including the freedom of the press, are critical, that we value what broadcasters, newspapers and others do to keep people informed and i consistently stood up for that value throughout my time at the commission. and if i were ever asked by anyone in the administration to take retaliatory action, for instance, immediate regulatory proceeding i would not do so. senator schatz: ok. have there been any communications about the media between you, your office and the white house that the committee should be aware of? mr. pai: senator, i've been aware of the comments that the president has made. senator schatz: right. has there been any communication that this committee should be aware of in light of the exchange that you've had with members of the committee during the confirmation hearing? i understand your position. i understand that you're saying , were you to ever be asked to do anything inappropriate you would decline to do anything inappropriate. my question is, have there been any overtures or communications direct or indirect that we
11:05 am
ought to be aware of in light of the sort of unsatisfactory resolution of this issue in the first hearing? mr. pai: senator, i don't believe so, but if that ever changes i commit to the committee and to you i will make sure you are informed. senator schatz: thank you. mr. carr, in 2014 when president obama expressed his support for net neutrality rules, the department of commerce submitted an ex parte notice with the f.c.c. officially putting the president's statement in the record. did the white house -- this white house file an ex parte with the f.c.c. yesterday when it announced its support for the current proceedings unravel the open internet order? mr. carr: i am personly not aware of any filing at this time. senator schatz: is one required, as g.c. of the commission, do you believe one is required? mr. carr: just a standard under the ex parte rules. reparticular lated detail standard in the ex parte rules, i have to refresh my recollection. senator schatz: can you
11:06 am
follow-up with the committee on this issue? mr. carr: i would be happy to. senator schatz: thank you to your family. what happened to you is unfair. we have to move expeditiously on your nomination. and a quick question for each erate. ominees on school broadband, thanks to erate modernization, do you commit to keeping the current erate program intact to make sure all of our country's students can get the connectivity that they need? mr. pai: senator, absolutely. that is my commitment going forward. senator schatz: thank you. ms. rosenworcel: yes, absolutely. mr. carr: yes, i agree. senator schatz: thank you. senator moran: senator blumenthal is recognized. senator blumenthal: senator
11:07 am
moran, thank you. i just want to pursue very quickly the questions that my colleague, senator schatz, asked regarding contacts with the white house. are you aware of any contacts or intervention by the white house in any past or pending erger, including the atand t and time warner -- at&t and time warner merger? mr. pai: no one has asked anything of me on any kind of pending transactions. senator blumenthal: those types of contacts would be improper and illegal, is that correct? mr. pai: i would say as a leader of an independent agency it's our goal to be an independent actor reviewing the facts as we see them, not how others see them. senator blumenthal: i have been alarmed by reports and i've written to the nominee by the
11:08 am
trump administration for his attorney for antitrust expressing my concern about those reports that indicated that the white house might try to use the merger as a way to impede or intimidate the exercise of the first amendment rights and you would be troubled as well i would assume? mr. pai: senator, absolutely. as i suggested to you yesterday, i'm an antitrust lawyer by training. i look at the facts in the law and i don't allow extraneous political considerations to intrude on that inquiry. senator blumenthal: thank you. are you familiar with the lawsuit brought by state attorneys general against broadband providers for advertising or offering speeds that they have failed to deliver? mr. pai: i've seen press reports of one. i am not aware if there is a class action of some sort i should be aware of. senator blumenthal: as a former attorney general, the allegations and the complaints
11:09 am
certainly seem to me like fraud. they are charging customers for internet speeds they fail to provide which seems a little bit like theft, stealing. would you agree? mr. pai: senator, i am not aware of those particular allegations but obviously i believe, as we made clear last week when we took action on slamming on cramming, consumers should get what they pay for and not pay what they did not ask for. senator blumenthal: section 706 of the telecommunications act requires the f.c.c. to report annually on whether broadband internet is being deployed to, quote, all americans in a responsible and timely fashion, end quote, and to take immediate action if it is not. so i would assume it would be important to you in fulfilling that obligation, conducting that review that companies lying to you about what the speeds they're delivering to
11:10 am
their customers would prompt some action by the f.c.c., correct? mr. pai: senator, i am not familiar with that interpretation of section 706. traditionally, it's been focused more on deployment. i'd be happy to look at that or any legal authority that the f.c.c. may have to vindicate consumer interests. senator blumenthal: would you commit to reviewing the lawsuit that's been brought by 35 states and taking action if appropriate? mr. pai: senator, absolutely. if you wouldn't mind, i will follow-up with your staff and give you the answers that you need. senator blumenthal: i want to talk briefly about the cost of wired broadband. are prices for broadband internet going up or down? mr. pai: senator, it depends on the marketplace. i think in some places it is prohibitively expensive and some places where there's more competition, the prices are lower and our goal is obviously both ubiquitous access and broad competition in all markets so all consumer --
11:11 am
consumers have a fair chance to enjoy the digital revolution. senator blumenthal: i think the f.c.c. has responsibility to know what's happened with broadband prices, does it not? mr. pai: it does. again, it depends on every marketplace. every marketplace is different. overall we want to make sure we have rules in place that promote competition in every single jurisdiction. senator blumenthal: do you have an assessment whether broadband prices are going up and down? mr. pai: that's part of the reason we have initiated section 706 inquiry that i proposed to my colleagues back in june. that's why we tee that up. what are the facts in the marketplace as of 2017? the most recent one was done a couple years ago. senator blumenthal: i'd like to invite comments by any of the other nominees. ms. rosenworcel: thank you for the question, senator blumenthal. this is antidotal. in my house the cost has gone up. i believe we need to assess broadband pursuant to section 06, as the chairman mentioned.
11:12 am
i -- 706, as the chairman mentioned. think consumers would benefit from that. mr. carr: senator, i agree. i think we need to take pull stock of the market when we are deciding whether it is competitive or not. senator blumenthal: thank you. my time has expired. there are a lot of other questions, including going into this one in greater depth. i look forward to working with you on them. thank you. senator moran: senator gardner. senator gardner: thank you, mr. chairman. thank you, again, to our nominees today. chairman pai, thank you for appearing today. this nomination hearing as we discussed many times we have an colorado. e in commissioner rosenworcel saw firsthand during her last tenure at the commission. while the f.c.c. included la plattea's decision, the application, out-of-state broadcasters lodged opposition
11:13 am
against it and we had back and forth comments now. it's my understanding the f.c.c. record is complete and the commission may either reaffirm or reverse their original approval decision. it's my hope that the commission will act swiftly to act on this issue. i'd like to have your commitment that they will review the la plattea county application and review the comments submitted? mr. pai: thank you. senator gardner: thank you. the rest of the commissioners, follow up. ms. rosenworcel: if confirmed, yes. mr. carr: yes. senator gardner: we are facing a spectrum crunch as more opt to stream video and use other intensive applications. the economy benefits from billions of dollars annually being invested in expanding access to commercial spectrum and seeing platforms and devices develop over the airwaves and i think we have to have a mix of low band, mid band and high band spectrum to continue this incredible economic progress. so mr. carr, do you believe it's important for congress to promote the benefits of establishing a spectrum pipeline to highlight the need for continuing to free up
11:14 am
spectrum for commercial use through relocation and better coordination among incumbents? mr. carr: thank you, senator. yes, i do. when you look at data traffic from 2010 to 2016, some estimates say it's grown 35 times over that period of time. i think we need an all-of-the-above approach. i think your efforts and those of congress on a spectrum pipeline would be very welcome. senator gardner: other nominees would like to comment on that? ms. rosenworcel: the answer is yes. mr. pai: yes, senator. senator gardner: thank you. chairman pai, i want to commend the committee of releasing phase 2 that recognizes the existing form 447 data is not adequate for determining accurate mobile coverage across the country. and i would hope to get your commitment at the commission. the commission will continue to work to ensure that mapping data used at the f.c.c. represents an accurate account on the ground -- accurate on-the-ground account of mobile coverage. mr. pai: absolutely, senator. we will be voting august 3 to make sure the steps we take into the commission is accurate
11:15 am
so our output is similarly worthy of the american people's trust. senator gardner thraur. over in the western slope of colorado where you have significant mountain value valleys and peaks and we have vast exspanses of land, what appears to have cell phone coverage on the map i can tell you at the mile marker where it's not true. would you make sure the mapping is accurate? ms. rosenworcel: yes. mr. carr: thank you. senator gardner: chairman p ambings, the united states of -- pai, the united states being an incredible leader with 5-g, i would reiterate the importance of 5-g, the opportunity it poses for our country, the challenge it poses. i know you already covered that. thank you and i know a number of members will ask questions. i'll yield back my time. senator moran: thank you. thank you. and senator fischer is next. senator fischer: thank you, senator wicker. thank you, chairman p ambings,
11:16 am
for visiting nebraska -- pai, for visiting nebraska. a couple years ago we had a couple meetings with stakeholders. you took a road trip recently and bypassed our state. we hope to get you back there soon. as you know, senator klobuchar and i along with 50 colleagues sent you a letter in april witnessed he urged the f.c.c. to take steps to ensure consumers can purchase stand-alone broadband. i want to thank you for your response and for your acknowledgment that this is a problem and it's not yet fixed. will you commit to continuing to work with your colleagues and with congress to solve this problem so that our rural consumers can have that in a timely way? mr. pai: i will, senator. absolutely. senator fischer: and i would ask commissioner rosenworcel, same question. ms. rosenworcel: if confirmed, yes. mr. carr: yes. senator fischer: chairman pai, in nebraska we have several
11:17 am
counties that are considered orphan counties. senator gardner just spoke about some of them and that means they're in a designated market area for a state other than nebraska and i think it's 26 of our counties out of 93 that are affected by this. in 2015, following the direction set by congress in the satellite re-authorization bill, the f.c.c. adopted rules to make it easier for people living in those orphan counties to access in-state programming. while these modifications are a good step, i still am concerned they really are too burdensome and they're really complicated for small committees to -- communities to be able to undertake those. what's your opinion of them? mr. pai: senator, we want to make the process easier and that's part of the reason why we have adopted reforms. if there are others that are worth considering, please let us know and we will be happy to
11:18 am
take that into account so long as the considerations are not denver bronco fans. senator fischer: well, you know -- [laughter] we have western nebraska. we don't have sports -- pro sports teams. in nebraska we are all husker fans. i'll clarify that for you. the f.c.c., though, are there -- are there any actions that you can take proactively that would be helpful? mr. pai: i think part of it involves making sure we process these applications efficiently. part of it is also encouraging who might be stakeholders, local governmental entities, for instance, or individual consumers to be able to put into place any of the facts that they think are necessary for us to make an informed judgment. for them to be able to tell us, look, we want to hear what the local weather is in western nebraska, we are -- the core value of the entire broadcast business is localism. that's one of the things that i
11:19 am
think is important for constituents in western nebraska around the country to know when they tune on the tv they will be able to get information that's relevant to them. senator fischer: i'd be interested in visiting with you more about options that you believe the commission would take and with the other commissioners as well or if you believe there are actions that congress should take in order to have that localism truly be effective. and commissioner rosenworcel, i am sure you will recall as he was about to end his term, chairman wheeler asked the f.c.c.'s wireless bureau to initiate an 11th hour investigation of whether certain carriers, zero rating services violated the net neutrality rules. and i was glad when chairman pai rescinded that report and stated that the f.c.c. would not focus on denying americans free data and these plans are very popular and they provide
11:20 am
innovative benefits to consumers. i also find it concerning that chairman wheeler issued a report on his way out the door after congress had already requested that he refrain from issuing controversial items after the 2016 election, so commissioner, what is your view of the zero rating services? do you believe they provide a tangible consumer benefit or do you believe or do you agree with chairman wheeler's report? ms. rosenworcel: thank you for the question, senator. to be clear, i believe that investigation and those reports were issued after my departure from the agency. i understand that with zero net rating there is a possibility of free services and i understand the allure of free services for some consumers but i also think at its extremes some types of zero net rating can undermine network neutrality and that leads me to be concerned. i think it's an area that merits more study being to be candid with you i do have
11:21 am
concerns. senator fischer: mr. carr, do you have any comments on that? mr. carr: thank you, senator. as an agency, the f.c.c. should be trying to promote competition, innovation that includes across different types of service plans and pricing plans. so i think we need to promote those types of innovations. senator fischer: thank you very much to all of you. thank you, mr. chairman. >> thank you, senator fischer. senator peters. senator peters: thank you, mr. chairman. nominees, thank you for your willingness to serveted public in this very important position. thank you for being here today. ms. rosenworcel, i certainly appreciate your strong commitment as a commissioner to maintaining a free, open and fair internet. if confirmed, i hope you're going to continue with this commitment to broadband internet as an essential tool for millions of americans and also for small businesses and fast growing startups in michigan as well as all across the country. allowing established corporations to prioritize
11:22 am
their services or slow down their competitors i believe would put these small businesses at a competitive disadvantage and could very well stifle innovation that's so important for our country. would you agree that net neutrality, under f.c.c.'s 2015 open internet rules, helps level the playing field for small businesses and startups, allowing them to compete fairly against large established players? ms. rosenworcel: yes, senator, i agree. senator peters: great, thank you. chairman pai, an issue i talked about many times, including with you yesterday in my office. appreciate the opportunity to spend some time with you. is the 5.9 gigahertz band which is vitally important to automotive safety systems which will dramatically decrease highway deaths when fully deployed. given the fact we have nearly 40,000 people dying on our highways every year, this will be truly lifesaving technologies deployed by auto companies. and for the past two years,
11:23 am
this committee has engaged with the f.c.c., the department of transportation, ntia, those agencies conduct joint testing of two proposals of the 5.9 spectrum sharing. your commitment, i certainly appreciate our meeting again and your commitment to keep the members of this committee informed of any developments on the 5.9 docket i think is extremely important to determine any decision made for spectrum sharing are based on data that's both rigorous as well as fully transparent. so could you please provide this committee a status update as to where the testing process is now and the timeline for making any decisions in that area, please? mr. pai: thank you for the question, senator. i appreciate your concern and i -- a your appreciation new round of testing began and was clear that supplemental testing was appropriate. the age targeted nine different
11:24 am
devices that i believe are currently being evaluated at the f.c.c. lab in columbia. we are studying a variety of data points coming out of those tests and we can't draw any definitive conclusions. therefore i can't give you a specific time frame. if and when that testing concludes, we will keep the committee apprised and in particular you because i know you have a great interest on this issue. senator peters: i appreciate that. also to follow-up, how would you characterize the coordination you are seeing between those three agencies? have you run into any roadblocks in that coordination? is there anything that these agencies or players can do that would allow for a more transparent and smooth process, in your mind? mr. pai: thank you for the question. i think thus far we have worked very cooperatively with our sister agencies on this issue as in many other issues. we are all trying to figure out the best answer here. thus far at least it's been a very fruitful and productive relationship. senator peters: great. also to follow-up again, mr.
11:25 am
chairman. i understand one of your biggest priorities at the f.c.c. is expanding broadband coverage, closing the digital divide. we had a long discussion yesterday. as you know one of the most important aspects of this is accurate data collection, as we heard from senator gardner as well as i think senator fischer brought up the issue as well. so we can understand which areas truly have internet access and target our efforts to those that do not. and i know you've been working on this through the mobility fund phase 2 in the form 477 reform process. i'm proud to be a co-sponsor of the rural wireless act of 2017 with both senator manchin and senator wicker. i appreciate senator wicker's leadership on this issue. which would require the f.c.c. to main more up-to-date and accurate data on wireless coverage, particularly in rural areas. it would direct the f.c.c. to establish methodology within six months to improve the validity and reliability of wireless coverage data and to ensure that coverage data is collected in a consistent, robust and efficient way.
11:26 am
i'd like to hear more about your plan to reform form 477 data and particularly would your plan contribute to the type of methodology that we have outlined in our bill? mr. pai: i appreciate that, senator. with respect to mobility funds, phase 2, obviously we are not relying on the form 477 data. such given some of the concerns expressed, we have tailor made data collection to ensure we are able to proceed with that mobility fund auction in a timely way as we consider the broader issues with form 477. with respect to form 477, we have a review. our goal is to make sure the agency has a very clear picture of where coverage is and where it is not because the substantial distorting effects that can result from us operating on the basis of bad data are tremendous. obviously we're diverting subsidies to areas that might not need the help, that we are disincentivizing companies of not building out in areas and
11:27 am
given the upper peninsula of michigan or detroit, you need to be able to have coverage if the f.c.c. says, according to your data you have coverage. i commend your work on that legislation which would help us establish some of these standards along the way. senator peters: thank you. appreciate your efforts. the chairman: thank you, senator fischer. senator peters. next up is senator cortez masto. senator cortez masto: thank you for the opportunity to meet all of you and welcome to your family. very exciting day for all of you. i will have to say i am partial to mr. carr because his wife is a native nevadan. thank you. ms. rosenworcel, let me start with you. in the conversation we had, as you well know, we talked a little bit about the intersection of innovation-transportation which obviously is of interest not just to me but to the state of nevada as well. where do you see the constructive place for the f.c.c. to work toward the safe
11:28 am
and reliable advancement of autonomous connected vehicles, unmanned aircraft and smart communities? ms. rosenworcel: thank you for the question, senator. lots of interesting things are happening with drones and with autonomous vehicles. a lot of them involve tests and those tests are going to require spectrum. i think the f.c.c. should develop part 5, experimental license practices that make those tests easier for industries, research institutions and universities. we can do a lot more with these new facilities and -- if we can test them and have spectrum necessary to facilitate those tests and get those services in the marketplace. senator cortez masto: thank you. i appreciate your comments with respect to erate. not only in nevada -- not only did school interintendents visit me here, but i had an opportunity to sit down with our public libraries and it's a
11:29 am
benefit not only to our urban but rural communities that wouldn't have access to education, to information that is necessary for work force development, applications so many things. i am a big supporter. thank you for those comments. mr. carr, when we were together we talked a little bit about a concern about cybersecurity and what we need to do in this space. in the last f.c.c. hearing i had asked commissioner o'riley about f.c.c.'s place in the challenging cybersecurity sphere, including the commission's cybersecurity and communications reliability division that works with the communication industries to develop and implement improvements to help the reliability and infrastructure. what specifically can the f.c.c. be doing to aid the concern and challenge of cybersecurity? mr. carr: senator, thank you for the question. cybersecurity is an important issue, whether it's i.o.t. or traditional networks. the f.c.c., as you note, has a
11:30 am
group that works to develop best practices that the agency can help push into the marketplace. the f.c.c. also has network-based expertise. in this space, d.h.s. has considered the agency in charge of communications in this area and so i think we should be taking our network-based expertise working with the d.h.s. and try to consolidate the efforts there so we don't have an alphabet soup of agencies potentially working across purposes in cyber. senator cortez masto: thank you. commissioner pai, couple questions for you. let me follow-up on what senator blumenthal started with. just for clarification, as you sit here today, you are not aware that u.s. telecom and ncta have asked the f.c.c. for a ruling confirming i.s.p.'s are following federal transparency rules by posting online or average performance
11:31 am
times during peak usage, is that correct? mr. pai: sorry. i thought senator blumenthal was referring to a lawsuit brought by states attorney generals. senator cortez masto: do you know they asked the f.c.c. for a ruling? mr. pai: yes, i am aware of it. senator cortez masto: i am aware that the it represents nothing more in an the industry's effort to shield itself from state law enforcement. what is the current status of the ruling, and can you speak to your per expective on -- perspective on whether this is fair consumer protection that you should be concerned about? mr. pai: we have studied that issue. we have not made determination on it. we are focused on a lot of things at the commission but i ensure you and ensure the committee we will keep you posted before any decision is made. we'll make sure that we take the appropriate steps to you up
11:32 am
to date. senator cortez masto: do you have a particular time line? mr. pai: not on that issue. senator cortez masto: i appreciate your response to my q.f.r. when we were talking about telecom on public and tribal lands. in the q.f.r. you mentioned your broadband deployment advisory committee would be providing recommendations on how to reduce or eliminate barriers. you also noted combrur intention to invite federal representatives from key agencies such as the department of interior to participate. when can we expect to see the recommendations and will they be made public? mr. pai: they will be made public, senator. the working groups of the broadband deployment advisory committee have been very actively working. we don't have a specific time frame on when they are going to work back to us, but the general ask i gave of them when i initiated the first meeting was to give us a sense of -- with respect to the model state code and modal local codes
11:33 am
deployment, at least by the end of the year, sometime by the fall ideally if they could give us some primary recommendations when we can move productively there. on other recommendations they haven't given us a time frame. they are obviously working really hard. we want to encourage that in a full and transparent way without pushing them before they make a recommendation. senator cortez masto: my time is up. i appreciate the conversation today. the chairman: thank you, senator cortez masto. senator booker. senator booker: thank you, mr. chairman. mr. carr, are you aware in the united states of america, of all the human beings on the planet earth, 1/3 of the incarcerated women are -- all the incarcerated women on the planet earth, 1/3 of them are in american prisons? mr. carr: i am not aware. senator booker: do you know a majority of them are parents under age 18? mr. carr: i am now. senator booker: are you aware these women don't get adequate
11:34 am
sanitary products and often have to scrape together dollars to buy tampons and pads, are you aware of that, sir? mr. carr: i am now. yes. senator booker: do you know science data that women who are able and empowered to communicate with their children, that it benefits society in multiple ways? lowers recidivism rates, lowers the rates of those children themselves being disciplined at school, lowers the rates which those children are expelled from school, lowers the rates which those children are incarcerated themselves, do you know that? mr. carr: yes, senator. senator booker: help me understand how in the united states of america -- have you been to a female prison, sir? mr. carr: i have been to a number of prisons. senator booker: have you been to a female prison? mr. carr: no. senator booker: have you sat with informer women prisoners?
11:35 am
mr. carr: no. i have never sat down where that has been a topic of discussion. senator booker: well, i have, sir. when you hear women have to make incredibly difficult decisions, whether they buy tampons or call their kids at homes because of the usery rates when trying to communicate with their children oso can you understand the logic between the f.c.c. abandoning its defense of capping the cost of these calls which often are dollars for minutes, help me understand that decision. mr. carr: senator, thank you for the question and your advocacy on this issue. it's a critically important one as you point out. there is a market failure when it comes to the rates and services for inmate calling. i don't think there's any doubt about that. the question is how do we go about solving that. the f.c.c. through a number of good faith efforts, 2013, 2014,
11:36 am
2015, 2016, took steps to try to address it. unfortunately when those decisions were appealed to the court, the d.c. circuit on four separate occasions found it's more likely or not the f.c.c.'s decision was unlawful. to your question when the administration turned over -- and there was one piece of one of those appeals that was coming up quickly on oral argument, there was a majority at the f.c.c. that did not support the f.c.c.'s position there. so the question was, do we abandon the appeal altogether or do we try to work to see what portions of that decision we can cobble majority together to defend and then go to the court and strenuously defend them. i am glad it was the latter choice we did and the court's decision ultimately upheld the f.c.c.'s decision to cap interstate rates and some of the significant reforms it did with ancillary fees. there are certainly more work to be done here and i commit to working with you, your staff to find lawful ways that we can address this issue. senator booker: we abandoned our defense to -- of the
11:37 am
authority of the f.c.c. to cap prison calling rates. mr. carr: that's correct. senator booker: and your feelings on that abanned on thement? mr. carr: i wish we had the authority to do it. it's a problem. the communications act is set up by congress did not in my judgment give the f.c.c. authority to take that step. but i would welcome specific grants of authority that would give the f.c.c. the jurisdiction to act here. senator booker: well, i patently disagree with you the authority of the f.c.c. e urgency of the problem and the harm that that failure to defend has caused. i have other questions, mr. chairman, but unfortunately my time has expired. out of respect for my fellow colleagues, i'll conclude. the chairman: thank you, senator booker. senator udall is up next. thank you. l:
11:38 am
chairman thune, thank you very much. chairman pai, the last time you were before this committee you were hesitant to answer direct questions about the president's attacks against f.c.c. regulated media companies that have reported stories critical of the administration. and i appreciate that you were more clear and direct in your written responses on march 17. however, president trump has continued his unprecedented and dangerous attacks on media organizations that report stories he does not like. on june 28, president trump tweeted, and i quote here, the amazon "washington post" sometimes referred to as the guardian of amazon, not paying internet taxes, which me should, is fake news. many people viewed this tweet as a threat by the president of the united states to pursue higher taxes against a company in retaliation for negative news coverage. and i believe that's
11:39 am
outrageous. on july 5, a "new york times" reported this about the white house and cnn, and i quote here. white house advisors have discussed a potential point of leverage over their adversary, a senior official said a 's ding merger between cnn, -- cnn's parent company, at&t and time warner. the president himself was clear on this topic in october, -- in an october, 2016, speech just before the election. i quote then-candidate trump. as an example -- this is a quote, direct -- as an example of the power structure i'm fighting, at&t is buying time warner and thus cnn, a deal we will not approve in my administration because it's too much concentration of power in the hands of too few, end quote. speaking of concentration of
11:40 am
power, there is another major media merger pending before the f.c.c., the proposed a acquisition of the tribune company by sinclaire broadcasting. there are real concerns this merger would violate media ownership rules, but the f.c.c. has already helped pave the way for this merger by reinstating the so-called u.h.f. discount that enables tv companies to get bigger. sinclaire now requires all their local stations to air video commentary pieces by a former trump administration staffer who generally supports the trump administration. sinclaire's c.e.o. has also been quite complimentary of you personally. the contrasting approach here creates the very real perception that the trump administration would act to reward friendly coverage and punish negative coverage. so in light of the development since march, i'd like to seek renewed answers from you on two questions i posed in march.
11:41 am
first, will you reassure us that you will exercise your authority as chairman of the media in regulate the an impartial manner? mr. pai: yes, senator. senator udall: thank you. have you had any communications with the white house directly or through an intermediary regarding media in any media re issues since march? mr. pai: senator, i have not had conversations with anyone in the administration with respect to media regulatory proceedings. to the best of my knowledge, no one on my staff or any f.c.c. has indirectly had any such conversations as well. senator udall: thank you. finally, do you believe it's appropriate for any federal official with power over media organizations to attack or threaten them with legal or regulatory retaliation over negative news coverage, media coverage? mr. pai: senator, i certainly have never done so, and i commit to you i will not do so long as i have the privilege of serving at the agency. senator udall: thank you very much for that answer. i am going to follow up with mr. carr and ms. rosenworcel.
11:42 am
mr. pai responded on march 17 to a letter from every democratic member of this committee that posed six questions along these lines. will you both commit to answer these similar six questions for the record prior to a committee vote on your nomination? ms. rosenworcel: yes, senator. senator udall: mr. carr. mr. carr: yes, senator. senator hasen, we wanted a hearing on the landscape. we have not had a topic in over eight years. i hope it's a timely one and hope you reconsider that. i -- one quick question and this should be quick because i think it's a yes or no. recently there's been a spike in violence and intimidation against individual journalists. republican congressman famously body slammed ben jacobs, a reporter for the guardian, after being asked about his position on the house health care bill one day before his
11:43 am
special election. a west virginia reporter was arrested while asking h.h.s. secretary price about the health care bill as well. trump white house staff reportedly threatened to keep files of dirt on white house reporters. f.c.c. security also manhandles c.q. reporter joe donnelly and pinned him against a wall after he sought to ask questions of commissioner o'riley. will each of you speak out against violence and intimidation against reporters and commit you will personally set a good example for press access in your own public activities? mr. pai: yes. ms. rosenworcel: yes, absolutely. mr. carr: yes, senator. senator udall: thank you. senator thune: thank you, senator udall. what i will do, i am going to intend to stay through entire at least first round for everybody but senator wicker does have to go. i am going to recognize him next and then we'll continue to move down the list that we have here. so senator wicker. senator wicker: thank you, mr.
11:44 am
chairman. chairman pai, accelerating broadband development in rural areas is a priority for many embers on both side of the dais. i worked with you to make sure data collection methods regarding mobile broadband question is standardized. it's necessary to make sure that funds to use broadband deployment are targeted to truly underserved and unserved communities. in rural america and in my state of mississippi. would you agree that standardizing data collection is important to target funds accurately to deploy the broadband in underserved and unserved areas, and will you commit to ensuring that the baseline coverage data collected from carriers for the mobility fund phase 2 challenge process be standardized? and please discuss how the draft order circulated last week on the mobility fund
11:45 am
challenge process achieves that objective. mr. pai: thank you, senator. and this is one of the reasons why we broke with long standing practice in my second week in office and instituted the policy of publishing every single proposal and order the f.c.c. was considering at least three weeks in advance. nowhere is the atlantic more complicated -- thickette more complicated than this one. we want to make sure we get it right for wireless consumers. last week as you pointed out we published the proposal we are going to be voted on august 3 to ensure this data is accurate. i understand that standardized data collection is one of the issues that's been flagged. we'd love to work with you and your staff, any interested stakeholders to make sure on august 3 we have a process that makes the input accurate so that the output can be worthy. senator wicker: will this be a one-time data collection? mr. pai: with respect to mobility fund phase 2 currently that's our expectation. obviously we are always open to suggestions on ways to improve our overall data collection. senator wicker: well, i'd like
11:46 am
to mention to all three, the various -- a serious question as to how the mobility fund challenge process will ensure that recipients of the funds are meeting buildout commitments over the 10-year period. would you like to comment on that? mr. pai: i would happy to, senator. every dollar spent by the f.c.c. that is ultimately collected from the taxpayers has to be deployed. it can't simply be point of order down the drain. that includes -- poured down the drain. that includes buildout. we ensure that money goes to building out 4-g l.t.e. we don't want that money to be wasted. americans don't have time to wait. senator wicker: let's have conversation with members of the commission. while the draft order says cell edge probability and the cell loading factor will be used by carriers when creating rural
11:47 am
coverage maps. some people remain concern that additional factors such as the assumed signal strength also need to be standardized or disclosed in order for the data you received to be reliable. will you commit to working with me and those stakeholders to address these concerns before the order is finalized? mr. pai: i would be happy to, senator. senator wicker: thank you and i look forward to you briefing me and my staff on -- about your efforts in this regard. mr. pai: thank you. senator wicker: now let's talk about the federal permitting process. i go back to you, mr. chairman. i understand the f.c.c. is working on a proceeding to modernize the commission's approach to the national environmental protection act and the national historic protection act to accelerate the deployment of wireless infrastructure. there are many onerous rules in place today that prevent or delay deployment, including the implementation of antenna sites
11:48 am
that are critical to wireless network buildout. please discuss how an update to the commission's approach towards environmental and historic reviews may accelerate the deployment of mobile brought to you by and the proliferation -- broadband and the proliferation to both urban and rural areas with existing right of ways that have already undergone environmental and historic reviews where broadband infrastructure has been deployed and do you think congress needs to act on this issue? mr. pai: all great points. obviously the regulatory review, including environmental and historic preservation review that applied traditionally with 100-foot cell towers may not be as relevant when you are talking about a small cell that could be -- small as a pizza box or you can hold in your hand. we want to make sure for these less on trucive, lower power deployments that we tailor the
11:49 am
regulatory burden to the commission, as commissioner rosenworcel pointed out. it's one of the things we are looking with all interested stakeholders to see what is the appropriate calibration with small cells and distributed antenna systems and the like. it may be helpful in some cases for congress to give us that authority with respect to field goal, for example. we would be happy to work with you, any members of the committee who are interested to find creative solutions to help us secure the benefits of the wireless revolution to come. senator wick remember mr. carr, do you think congress needs to act in this space or do you have the authority you have? mr. carr: there are things f.c.c. could streamline. congress' help is welcomed. work with federal lands where the f.c.c. might have limited authority. senator wicker: thank you. thank you, mr. chairman. senator thune: thank you, senator wicker.
11:50 am
senator cantwell. senator cantwell: thank you. we had a town hall on net knew trainlt i know the chairman mentioned comments that may be artificial in coming into the f.c.c. in regards to the possible change to net neutrality laws. i know that's not my -- my constituents have very real stories and we have a very big internet economy and app economy and want to continue to grow that with a very high concentration of software engineers and great schools like the university of washington. so i hope that you will be pulling out of that kind of data entered into the f.c.c. real examination of business models and challenges that any change -- and obviously we are against any change to this rule at this point in time -- that you are really going to look at the details that individual businesses and consumers in my state are filing with the
11:51 am
f.c.c. as it relates to this just push out saying, oh, it was just a bunch of botz or a bunch of russians. mr. pai: we definitely will, senator. when i say we will make a full review of the record i mean that. we won't exclude points of view for any ideological or political reasons. we take an accurate assessment what's in the record. that includes the perspectives from startups an consumers of e types who voiced -- voices heard at the town hall you held. senator cantwell: we hope you will do that because it's important we continue that economy. secondly, when i look at this issue in general about cybersecurity and the f.c.c. and i look at the numbers, department of homeland statistics of 209 cyberattacks on critical infrastructure in big increase, a don't you think that the f.c.c. should be doing more to look at the communication risk of the communication sector,
11:52 am
specifically, not just advocating that to homeland security? we are certainly pushing legislation on the critical infrastructure side with d.o.e. to make sure it's on the pipelines and electricity grid. why don't you take more responsibility at your post in looking at the potential hacking and cybersecurity risk of our communication systems? mr. pai: senator, this is a critical issue and in this capacity, as chairman i have had the ability to be briefed in a secure facility at the f.c.c. on these issues. you. assure you at the end of the day we are guided by the rule of law. congress has given us sir come scribed authority in this area. we tried to engage with our sister agencies to provide them information about some of the threats to the networks we see. to keep myself apprised on some of the threats that are materialized. if congress gives us additional authority i can assure you that i would faithfully administer it to make sure businesses and
11:53 am
consumers are protected. senator cantwell: ms. rosenworcel, is there more we can be doing more at the f.c.c. now and given direction on security? ms. rosenworcel: yes, senator. the very first sentence of the communications act speaks about the use of communications for the safety and life and property. i think congress was very clear that they intended the f.c.c. to have a role so i would disagree with my past colleague here sitting to my right. senator cantwell: maybe this is something for the future so we had, mr. chairman, a good cybersecurity hearing. everyone's devices now that everything is networked and now that everything is together, they are the entry point, obviously, and i'm very concerned after "the washington post" issued the story about how the russian government hacking of our energy infrastructure at a nuclear power plant, i just think it's time to take all of this serious as so many devices are
11:54 am
the most vulnerable entry point to a network that now is controlled by people in remote situations. so i hopefully could follow on our last cyber hearing and get more input. thank you. thank you, mr. chairman. senator thune: thank you, senator cantwell. it's an issue i think will be an ongoing concern for this committee and for all the people across this country. next up is senator baldwin. senator baldwin: thank you, mr. chair. recently in wisconsin i held roundtables on rural broadband access in two communities. eagle river which is near the northern border in our state with the upper peninsula of michigan. and monticello, which is in green county, near the illinois border, southern border of our state. and they are very diverse communities but there were certainly very similar themes i
11:55 am
heard in their communities with their lack of broadband access and how it harms their economic development, how it affects their ability to attract new amilies to live there or vacation there, how it affects local health care providers to fully utilize the promise of health i.t. and electronic medical records. an example of which is in green county, the southern county i visited, the local hospital does have a sophisticated health i.t. system, but patients can't access their electronic medical records at home without access to broadband or do something simple like uploading a photo of a healing wound to avoid a travel to a clinic or hospital if there's no need. and so these were themes i know you're well familiar with.
11:56 am
i also heard intense frustration of those people on the ground who just want to fix this problem, who want to deploy the fiber or whatever means. the disconnect between the needs of these communities and the federal programs that they know exist to help get broadband to places like theirs. and so i know, mr. carr, we talked a little bit about this in our earlier meeting. how would you respond to the folks of eagle river, monticello, wisconsin, who ask, what is the f.c.c. going to do to make sure that people like them have access to this critical resource? mr. carr: thank you, senator, for the question and for your advocacy on these important issues. there is a lot that the f.c.c. can and should be doing. one is which need to reduce the cost of getting services, networks out to these parts of the country. the agency right now, some infrastructure proceedings that
11:57 am
are teed up on that. spectrum will be a key resource as well. there's more we could be doing to push spectrum out in the marketplace. obviously at the end of the day universal service support will be critical to many parts of the country. we need to be making sure we're targeting those funds to those areas that need it. senator baldwin: i want to continue to focus on rural broadband deployment. and mention -- this is for the whole panel. two-part question. one is, there's been some confusion or lack of clarity as to whether the president's infrastructure proposal would include broadband or not. his initial proposal that was unveiled did not mention broadband but it was reported told ast month in iowa he an audience there that broadband would absolutely be a part of his $1 trillion package. because i'm concerned about the
11:58 am
lack of clarity, i guess we'll start with you, mr. carr, and then mr. -- ms. rosenworcel and then mr. pai, i want to know where you stand with regard to whether broadband should be a part of this infrastructure program. the follow-up question is, if we indeed successfully advocate for these resources in an infrastructure package, would you advocate for those resources to be deployed through existing f.c.c. programs through a new f.c.c. program or programs outside of the f.c.c.'s orbit? mr. carr, why don't we start with you? mr. carr: senator, thank you for the question. the usual caveat i defer to congress and the administration working out how to put together an infrastructure package, i believe the secretary of transportation has recently also said she believes that broadband should be part of it.
11:59 am
i think that will be a good idea. the f.c.c. does have an existing mechanism, u.s.f., that could be one potential avenue for distributing those funds. ms. rosenworcel: thank you, senator, for the question. this may come as no surprise but the administration has not spoken to me about exactly what is going to be in that infrastructure proposal with respect to rural broadband so i have no special knowledge about it. but i do know this, that if we wind up having additional programs for broadband, whether it's at the f.c.c. or somewhere else, we need to make sure that the right hand and left hand are talking to one another. we have had many programs in the past, the department of commerce, the department of agriculture in addition to the f.c.c. and the one thing i have been struck by is the lack of conversation about how those programs work together. mr. pai: senator, in march my first major speech as chairman i said if there were to be an infrastructure plan -- >> and this hearing on f.c.c. nominations continues online at here on c-span, we're leaving as the house is gaveling back
12:00 pm
into session working on two bills today. one to increase interagency coordination among agencies involved in selecting gas pipeline locations. another bill to speed up the permitting process for cross-border oil and gas pipelines. also electric transmission lines. votes later. live coverage now here on c-span. [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2017] [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit] the speaker: the house will be in order. the prayer will be offered by the guest chaplain, chaplain marshall dunbar, christian community action, lewisville, texas. the chaplain: let us pray. heavenly father, thank you for the opportunity you have given me to stand before the men and women of this house. with the awesome responsibility of governing this great nation. help them to come


info Stream Only

Uploaded by TV Archive on