UPDATE 1-U.S. lawmakers eye communications law revamp

* Rockefeller, Waxman issue joint statement

* Meetings to start in June with stakeholders

* Broadband, wireless likely to be major issues

WASHINGTON, May 24 (BestGrowthStock) – Top Democratic lawmakers
said on Monday they will hold a series of meetings starting in
June to discuss proposals to revamp the U.S. communications law
as regulators set a course on broadband oversight.

Senate Commerce Committee Chairman John Rockefeller and
House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Henry Waxman said
they will invite stakeholders to participate in “bipartisan,
issue-focused” meetings.

The announcement comes as the Federal Communications
Commission is about to takes steps to regulate high-speed
Internet, with a pledge to retain a light regulatory touch.

The FCC plans to regulate broadband access as a
telecommunications service — instead of as an information
service — but said the industry should trust that it will not
apply the most burdensome price controls and competition
mandates that come with that framework.

A U.S. appeals court ruling in April forced the agency to
revamp its Internet authority. The court found that the FCC had
failed to show it had the authority to stop Comcast Corp
(CMCSA.O: ) from blocking online applications that distributed
television shows and other bandwidth-hogging files.

Internet providers were pessimistic about the legal
foundation of the the FCC’s latest approach and some predicted
it would delay the agency’s National Broadband Plan, unveiled
last month to expand access and boost Internet speeds.

The big phone and broadband companies like AT&T Inc (T.N: )
and Verizon Communications Inc (VZ.N: ) have expressed concern
with the FCC move despite assurances. They are likely to
challenge the agency in court.

Wireless products and services are also likely to be a
major focus of the discussions as demand increases from
consumers for Internet access and videos on smartphones and
other mobile handsets.

Last week, the FCC for the first time since 2002 omitted
the term “effective competition” from its annual wireless
industry report, a sitation one senior regulator blamed on
industry consolidation and concentration.

The lack of the phrase could set the stage for U.S.
regulators to impose policies and regulations to increase
competition and help shape the terms of the next set of major
auctions on spectrum for an industry largely dominated by AT&T,
Verizon Wireless, Sprint Nextel Corp (S.N: ) and Deutsche Telekom
AG’s (DTEGn.DE: ) T-Mobile USA unit.

Verizon Wireless is a joint venture between Verizon
Communications and Vodafone Group Plc (VOD.L: ).

In their joint statement, Rockefeller and Waxman, along
with the respective chairmen of the relevant subcommittees,
Senator John Kerry and Representative Rick Boucher, said the
topics of discussion and other details will be announced soon.


(Reporting by John Poirier, editing by Leslie Gevirtz)

UPDATE 1-U.S. lawmakers eye communications law revamp