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House of Representatives

Congress Looks for Legislative Barriers to Internet of Things, But Finds None

Andrew Feinberg

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WASHINGTON, June 18, 2017 — Members of the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Digital Commerce Consumer Protection on Tuesday met with executives from companies producing products that could be considered part of the “Internet of Things” (IoT) with the aim of uncovering regulatory or legislative barriers to innovation.

Despite a plethora of witnesses representing the industry, such barriers were nowhere to be found.

“I look forward to hearing more about the work that our panelists are doing in the IoT space and how IoT has improved the important work we are all doing,” Chairman Bob Latta, R-Ohio, said in his opening statement. “I also look forward to exploring how we as policymakers can continue to remote IoT and address any regulatory barriers…that might stifle innovation or hinder the industry.”

Ranking Member Jan Schakowsky, D-Illinois, agreed, adding, “I’m interested to hear about the challenges the witnesses have faced. We value your perspective as we determine how the Federal government can help consumers realize the full benefit of your technologies.”

But despite the chairman and ranking member’s stated focus on regulatory barriers, no one on the panel of six witnesses could name any regulatory burden that is preventing the deployment or success of IoT devices.

But Integra Technologies Chief Technology Officer Mark Bachman noted that wireless broadband deployment is a necessity for the IoT to become successful and pervasive.

“The telecommunications backbone must likewise upgrade and develop technology to support the wide variety of data and the exponential increase in traffic that will result from IoT,” Bachman said. “IoT is one of the drivers of 5G, the emerging wireless standard that promises to increase wireless bandwidth by more than 100 times current capability.”

Bachman added that developing regions will rely far more heavily on wireless broadband than fiber since they lack existing hard-wired infrastructure.

(Illustration by Geralt used with permission.)

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