FCC Commissioners Appear Before Senate Hearing
March 13, 2013 at 5:09 AM (PT)
The five FCC Commissioners appeared TUESDAY before the U.S. Senate Commerce Committee's oversight panel, touching on a wide range of topics that included the ongoing media ownership review.
Chairman JULIUS GENACHOWSKI focusing mostly on expansion of Internet access and wireless spectrum, asserted that "we need to promote media diversity" and touted the Commission's reviews of media ownership rules and cross-ownership as well as "the largest expansion of community radio in U.S. history." He also warned that sequestration "will harm the ability of the FCC to deliver on its vital mission, including universal service, public safety, spectrum management, and consumer protection. "
Commissioner ROBERT MCDOWELL told the panel that "the most important priority for the Commission this year is to implement the congressionally-mandated incentive auction" and also warned that "we are losing the fight for Internet freedom" with the breakdown of international consensus and the development of "centralized, top-down choke points" allowing governments to regulate traffic. On media ownership, MCDOWELL said that the rules should be modernized "to reflect the current economic realities of the marketplace and eliminate any and all unnecessary mandates," calling for deregulation of traditional media and the elimination of the newspaper-broadcast cross-ownership ban.
Commissioner MIGNON CLYBURN said that on media ownership, "we want to get the rules right, and I am pleased that we are considering every possible option before making a final judgment." Commissioner AJIT PAI called for the review to be completed "by MEMORIAL DAY" and echoed MCDOWELL's desire to revise the rules to reflect changes in the media landscape. He also repeated his call for ending the 25% cap on foreign investment in media.