• On March 10, 2010, the US House of Representatives Commerce Committee marked up three telecom-related bills: HR 3125, the Radio Spectrum Inventory Act; HR 3019, the Spectrum Relocation Improvement Act of 2009; and HR 1258, the Truth in Caller ID Act of 2009. The Committee adopted a substituting amendment for HR 3125 that expressly permits classified information to be withheld from the mandated spectrum report for purposes of national security, and deletes the requirements for NTIA and the FCC to make a recommendation for reallocating spectrum and to provide a written evaluation whether the spectrum database should include the bands from 3.7 GHz to 10 GHz. The Committee also adopted a substituting amendment for HR 1258 removing the phrase “cause harm” from the type of intent that would support liability for transmitting misleading caller ID information. Both amendments were adopted by voice vote. All three bills were reported favorably by the Committee.
  • On March 11, 2010, the US Senate Commerce Committee held a hearing titled “Consumers, Competition, and the Proposed Comcast-NBC Merger.” Witnesses included FCC Chairman Genachowski, Christine Varney, Assistant Attorney General for Antitrust at the Department of Justice, and Brian Roberts, Chairman and CEO of Comcast. Chairman Genachowski ensured that the merger would be reviewed in “an open process” and noted that the “FCC’s public interest standard and procedures are different from the ones [DOJ] applies when it reviews transactions.” Varney noted that often contested transactions are settled via voluntary consent decree, and that because the FCC is not constrained to the deadlines of Hart-Scott-Rodino, those deadlines are “at least as a practical matter” displaced for the Justice Department as well.
  • The US House of Representative Judiciary Committee will hold a hearing on March 16, 2010, at 11:00 am Eastern in 2141 Rayburn House Office Building titled “Federal Rulemaking and the Regulatory Process.” The list of witnesses was not released at the time of this publication.