FCC Commissioners Have Their Say At CES
January 8, 2014 at 4:54 PM (PT)
Across a hall from where Chairman TOM WHEELER held forth just before, the other four FCC Commissioners appeared on their own panel at International CES in LAS VEGAS (1/8), moderated by POLITICO's TONY ROMM.
Other topics included AT&T's proposal for sponsored data, charging for sending things to connected devices. Commissioner MIGNON CLYBURN stressed transparency while hesitating to voice a specific opinion on the plan; Commissioner AJIT PAI said that he is open to the idea; Commissioner JESSICA ROSENWORCEL proclaimed support for an open Internet but said, "I have no crystal ball" regarding the legal aspects of the proposal, and Commissioner MICHAEL O'RIELLY initially punted, deferring to his longer-tenured colleagues, but later said that he is open to the proposal.
Also disccussed were net neutrality and the Supreme Court case (CLYBURN joked that she does not have the ability to predict the future like SOUTH CAROLINA character DR. BUZZARD, but hoped for certainty and transparency for customers; O'RIELLY said he hoped the Supreme Court would strike the provision down and eliminate the regulation, PAI agreed with O'RIELLY that the FCC lacks the authority to promulgate rules for the Internet; and ROSENWORCEL deferred to the Court, declining to predict an outcome); and whether Congress should get involved to grant Internet regulatory authority or not (O'RIELLY saying that it might not be a bad thing).
Also discussed by the panel were the prospect of a Communications Law rewrite (PAI joined ROSENWORCEL and CLYBURN in optimism that the issue can be addressed in a bi-partisan manner); spectrum auctions (CLYBURN said that broadcasters have had several updates regarding auctions and a lot of engagement on the matter, and O'RIELLY said that the auction is voluntary and broadcasters should be provided with all the information they need to make a decision, while PAI related talking to broadcasters who felt no need to make a decision since the auctions weren't imminent, but that as the date approaches, the Commission should offer more information; ROSENWORCEL called for putting the incentive auction for TV on the calendar); serving those with disabilities; and AM revitalization, a question on which PAI answered in general terms ("we'll wait and see") and with some amusement ("I never expected to get an AM radio question here").