Tuesday, February 04, 2003

Powell at the FCC

Here's a positive article from the Economist outlining what Michael Powell, now in his second year as chairman of the FCC, might have planned. They anticipate widespread deregulation in 1) media ownership, 2) last-mile telecom requirements, and 3) spectrum.

I personally am in favor of all three. While people are understandably suspicious of large media conglomerates, I think the economic argument for them censoring content is weak, although it's been helpfully pointed out to me that some sports games have been unaired because of a dispute over pricing. Also, the TELRIC pricing in the Telecom Act of 96 proved hostile to investment and impossible to administer, so I am comfortable giving back the ILECs last mile monopoly over copper, confident that cellular, wireless, and other new technologies will route around them. We'll see if this confidence is well founded. And finally, more open spectrum will be great -- I've been skeptical in the past, but the success of 802.11b shows what can be done if the unregulated spectrum is appropriate. And how can you not root for a guy who refers to his TiVo as "God's Machine"?


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