Nov 30, 2021

Don't Reconfirm FCC Chairman Martin

Published Nov 15, 2006, 12:00pm

Don't Reconfirm FCC Chairman Martin

From Isen Blog, November 13, 2006

By David Isenberg

Now that Democrats control both houses of Congress, netheads have a somewhat better (but hardly ironclad) likelihood that their issues will see daylight. My top suggestion for 2007 Congressional action is ...

... fire FCC Chairman Kevin Martin!

Martin's appointment to a second term as FCC Commissioner is pending Senate confirmation. I like Kevin; he's personable, he's articulate, he understands the issues in deep detail. But he shouldn't be confirmed.

Martin has not championed the Internet or its future; he seems intent on strengthening the old telco business model. Under his leader chairmanship, U.S. Internet connectivity has fallen ever further behind the rest of the world. U.S. citizens pay more for less Internet connectivity than most developed nations.

Martin favors (a) big telecom mergers without conditions, (b) weakened common carrier obligations for Internet access providers, and (c) expanded FCC regulation of speech on the Internet. He has implemented major regulatory barriers to new ISPs and VOIP providers (e.g., CALEA, E911-on-VOIP). He's evidenced no personal enthusiasm for any of the new communications technology. He has weakened the FCC by purging its most knowledgeable bureau chiefs and replacing them with political fellow-travelers. And he has stalled initiatives to open new spectrum for unlicensed uses, stalled FCC rethinking of spectrum re-regulation, threatened to put obstacles in the way of TV's Digital Transition, and failed to champion innovative technology except for telco video.

Congressional leadership -- Dingell, Boucher, Markey, Inouye, Leahy, Wyden and the congressional netheads of both parties -- should give the President a short list of candidates for FCC Chair who believe in competition based on marketplace merit (over incumbency and size), who appreciate the transformative power of disruptive technology, and who want the United States once again to lead the world in Internet development. A few plausible (necessarily Republican) candidates like this should be findable. One should be nominated and confirmed.

This article is from Isen Blog. If you found it informative and valuable, we strongly encourage you to visit their website and register an account to view all their articles on the web. Support quality journalism.

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