Broadcast viewpoint featured in Brookings event


There are dueling events taking place at 10AM Thursday 5/5/11 in Washington. The House Judiciary Committee is teeing up network neutrality, and think tank The Brookings Institute is looking at the digital divide and other issue. The panel at Judiciary has not yet been released; at Brookings, it’s interesting to say the least.

The House Judiciary, by direction of Chairman Lamar Smith (R-TX) is entitling its session “Ensuring Competition on the Internet: Net Neutrality and Antitrust” and addressing the issue under the auspices of its Subcommittee on Intellectual Property, Competition and the Internet.”

The Brookings session is called “Bridging the Digital Divide: Spectrum Policy, Program Diversity and Consumer Rights.”

Describing the session, Brookings wrote: “Closing the ‘digital divide’ – the gap between society’s tech-enabled haves and have-nots – hinges on enhancing the quality and breadth of consumer access to digital and information technology in areas such as education, employment, health care, news and entertainment. As digital citizenship gains traction as a fundamental right, what should the government do to bridge the technology divide? How should access options be reformed, and what will programming offerings look like in the future? How will legislative and regulatory policies shape future access to further benefit consumers? How will spectrum policy changes impact under-served, geographically-isolated populations and consumers at different economic levels in our society?”

The moderator is Darrell M. West, Vice President and Director, Governance Studies.

Panelists include Matthew Hussey an aide to Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-ME), NAB Vice President and Chief Strategy Officer Christopher Ornelas, and Onyeije Consulting LLC President Uzoma Onyeije.

If the last name rings a bell, it is because Onyeije just wrote a piece questioning the entire underpinning of the FCC’s attempt to reclaim spectrum from television broadcasters.

RBR-TVBR observation: It is quite common to see an event addressing the future of electronic communication that completely snubs broadcasters. The Brookings event is highly unusual in its apparent opposite tack.