Spectrum is dominant topic at FCC


FCC Commissioners / May 2012There is no question that getting spectrum into the hands of broadband providers is the primary objective at the FCC right now – it was mentioned in opening remarks of legislators and commissioners alike.

Other topics of interest to broadcasters that came up: Cell phone outages (which could impact the use of the FM chip in phones), indecency, eliminating cross-ownership restrictions, focusing on consumer protection and complaint acceptance and implantation of shot and sunset clocks.
Here are summaries of the commissioners’ remarks.

* Julius Genachowski: Primary focus is promoting broadband. Working had on complex task of implementing incentive auctions – should put forward proposals by fall and solicit broad public comment. The FCC is focused on knocking down the backlog of pending items.

* Robert McDowell: To-do list: Spectrum auctions, media ownership rules, turning back international efforts to regulate the internet. Should avoid over-engineering the auctions. Ownership revamping is in order to reflect new competitive realities. Largely eliminate cross-ownership. Clarify indecency policy and process 1.5M indecency complaints that have been accumulating for years.

* Mignon Clyburn: Focuses on competition as a means to serve consumers, and said regulation to be sure that happens is appropriate at times. She also praised 21st Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act, which will providea certain amount of audio narration of broadcast television material for the benefit of the visually-impaired.

* Jessica Rosenworcel: Power outages – FCC must investigate, get the facts wherever they lead and fix the problem. Competitive markets, consumer protection, improve consumer complaint process. Focus on spectrum demand. Make sure room is left for unlicensed devices.

* Ajit Pai: All parties agree: FCC must become more nimble and efficient. Shot clocks, sunset clocks will help. Need to act on spectrum. Take all-of-the-above approach, soon. Thanks committee for its bill on process reform, says FCC should follow it even though it hasn’t made it through Senate.