House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI) and Communications and Technology Subcommittee Chairman Greg Walden (R-OR) today released the following statement on the Federal Communications Commission's approval of a "special access" order by a 3-2 vote to suspend existing FCC rules:
"The FCC has once again handed down a decision without providing sufficient evidence that action is needed. The decision violates good process and is difficult to square with Chairman Genachowski's previous statements about how this issue would be addressed. The FCC told the D.C. Circuit Court in an October 2011 filing that the commission lacked "an evidentiary record that is sufficient to evaluate current conditions in the special access market,' in part because of "the failure of some parties to produce information clearly documenting their claims that special access rates are unreasonable.' Further, the FCC Wireline Bureau Chief said in April that the FCC was still faced with "an incredible dearth of data.'
"As a result, members urged Chairman Genachowski at the July Communications and Technology Subcommittee hearing to engage in a mandatory data collection and to refrain from taking any action before then. The Chairman acknowledged that the FCC did not have all the information it needed and said that he would move forward expeditiously with a data collection. He made no mention of his plans to suspend the regime and propose changes before gathering the additional material. The FCC has a responsibility as an expert agency to justify its actions with data before intervening in the status quo. Chairman Genachowski has said that the House-approved FCC Process Reform Act is unwarranted. Actions such as these provide further evidence to the contrary," said Upton and Walden.