Two top Democratic legislators said Monday that they would begin a process to modernize telecommunications laws that were last overhauled in 1996 but barely mention the internet, The New York Times reports. Senator John D. Rockefeller IV of West Virginia, chairman of the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee, and Representative Henry A. Waxman of California, chairman of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, said in a joint statement that they would hold meetings in June to examine how the Communications Act meets the current needs of consumers, the telecommunications industry and the Federal Communications Commission. The issue came into focus in April when a federal appeals court ruled that the F.C.C. had overstepped its authority in applying a portion of the Communications Act to an Internet service provider. In response, the F.C.C. announced a plan this month to reclassify broadband Internet service, which is now lightly regulated as an information service. Under the change, it would be classified as a telecommunications service, similar to basic telephone service, and would therefore come under more scrutiny by the agency.
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