Free Press On FCC Chair's First Year: 'Room For Improvement'
June 30, 2010 at 4:24 AM (PT)
Liberal media watchdog FREE PRESS Research Director S. DEREK TURNER posted the organization's evaluation of FCC Chairman JULIUS GENACHOWSKI TUESDAY (6/29), and the report charged that under GENACHOWSKI, "the Commission has appeared active, but very little of this activity has resulted in actual policy changes that positively affect the public." The organization "is giving the chairman a grade of 'Incomplete, needs improvement' across the board," wrote TURNER. "GENACHOWSKI needs to be willing to pursue critical policies that protect consumers, even if the largest telecommunications companies don’t like those policies."
The evaluation noted that GENACHOWSKI's predecessors, Republicans MICHAEL POWELL and KEVIN MARTIN, "quickly pursued the BUSH administration’s policy agendas during their first year in office" while GENACHOWSKI's Commission "has largely failed to adopt policy changes that are not widely supported by the industries it oversees."
TURNER charged that under GENACHOWSKI so far, "There have been no efforts to address the real problems of our broadband marketplace -- high prices and slow service due to a lack of meaningful competition -- and instead the Commission has seemed preoccupied with focusing on policies that will benefit the major wired and wireless companies. The public needs a champion willing to challenge those entrenched interests. The biggest policies enacted over the last year -- tower siting 'shot clocks,' partial closing of the terrestrial loophole, and approval of the AT&T-CENTENNIAL and VERIZON-FRONTIER transactions -- are all unknown to most consumers and heavily supported by the industry lobby.
"And while GENACHOWSKI did open a proceeding on preserving the open Internet last fall, the chairman’s office is now holding closed-door meetings with industry giants to hammer out a compromise on Net Neutrality that would reportedly pave the way for a closed and discriminatory mobile Internet. If true, this means the GENACHOWSKI may be ceding ground on Net Neutrality, the most important OBAMA administration tech policy priority."
TURNER concluded that "unless GENACHOWSKI makes the politically tough choice to re-establish the FCC’s authority over broadband services, he will go down in history as the chairman who presided over the FCC’s transition to near-irrelevance. In the short term, GENACHOWSKI must move forward with his plan to reverse the BUSH-era mistakes that put the FCC’s ability to protect consumers in jeopardy. He must restore the agency’s authority to protect the open Internet and implement the National Broadband Plan. History will show that this is the right action to take, and pursuing this path in the face of intense industry pressure will earn GENACHOWSKI a place in history as a chairman who did what he had to do to promote the public interest."