is not a character from the Outback.
FCC Chairman Michael Powell has started a Weblog on the Always-On Network. In his first entry, last Thursday, he stated his explicit purpose of reaching out to the high-tech community and by-passing the Washington lobbying structure:
"One reason I am participating in AlwaysOn Network's blog is to hear from the tech community directly and to try to get beyond the traditional inside the Beltway Washington world where lobbyists filter the techies. . . . Regulated interests have about an 80 year head start on the entrepreneurial tech community when it comes to informing regulators what they want and need, but if anyone can make up for that, Silicon Valley can."
"The high-tech community traditionally shied away from regulatory debates at the FCC and state regulatory commissions. Perhaps staying off regulators' radar screens has served entrepreneurs well in the past. Unfortunately, the era of salutary neglect is coming to an end. As regulators get involved in issues such as VoIP affecting high-tech industries, the collateral damage can be significant. As technologies, services, and legal policies converge, it is critical that the high-tech community understand the issues and engage them."
Silicon Valley should heed this call. For too long, the tech community has let the cause of deregulation, respect for property, and free markets be stalled by the vicious political infighting triggered by the mistakes in the implementation of the 1996 Telecommunications Act. A determined tech world might break the deadlock.
Powell's second posting, on Sunday, takes up the strategy of multiple platforms.