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MMTC Forms Telecom, Internet Policy Task Force

Former representatives Towns, Stearns co-chair new group

Several lobbying organizations believe it’s time to rewrite the current Telecom Act, last overhauled in 1996.

The Minority Media and Telecommunications Council met with a number of parties to assess that need, and has now taken the next step in lobbying for telecom policy reform. The MMTC has formed what it’s calling a “Telecom, Internet Policy Task Force” to lobby for change through legislation, rulemaking and other means.

Two recently retired Members of Congress, Ed Towns (D-N.Y.) and Cliff Stearns (R-Fla.), are co-chairing the taskforce. Former Congressmen Towns and Stearns were both members of the House Energy and Commerce Committee as well as its Subcommittee on Communications and Technology (formally the Telecommunications Subcommittee) and the Subcommittee on Commerce, Manufacturing and Trade.

“Our taskforce will work tirelessly to pave the way for much-needed communications infrastructure to better serve our citizens when disaster strikes, eliminate the digital divide in communities of color, and eliminate the barriers to entry facing small businesses in the rapidly increasing and lucrative field of telecommunications,” stated Towns.

Stearns called telecom policy reform “long overdue,” noting technology has evolved rapidly and has converged since passage of the ’96 Telecom Act.

The inaugural meeting of the task force is today, Jan. 16, at 7:30 p.m. during the MMTC Broadband and Social Justice Telecom Policy Summit at the Westin Georgetown Hotel in Washington.