Tuesday, January 26, 2010 - The Progress & Freedom Foundation Blog

State of the Net: summary of remarks by FCC Commissioners Copps & Baker

FCC Commissioners Michael Copps and Meredith Attwell Baker kicked off the 2010 Congressional Internet Caucus "State of the Net" conference this afternoon with two brief keynote addresses. Below I've summarized the highlights here from my live Tweeting at the event (@AdamThierer):

Commissioner Copps

• "every great challenge this country faces... has a broadband component at its core if it's going to be successfully dealt with"
• Broadband is the great enabler; Private sector will lead, but national objectives and visionary public policy also have to be at core
• "sins of recent public policy past" got in way of us doing things that needed to get done
• Worries about wider new "divides between us"; have opportunity to close them
• Praises Hillary Clinton's Internet freedom speech from last week
• Hard to conceptualize the changes that next 5-10 years hold in light of the developments of past 5-10
• Worried about open Internet; "unreasonable discrimination"... doesn't want to allow "too much latitude" to private operators... says it is threat to "openness" (he never really defines the term, however)
• Passionate views on both sides of Net neutrality debate
• Need big pipes and more spectrum to grow capacity (I certainly agree on that one! But Net neutrality isn't going to help us much in that regard)
• He fears consolidation
• Says minority and women voices are not getting heard online (he says we should measure it by audience measurements & ad $$ but doesn't bothering mentioning how much wider the gap was in the old mass media era when none of those voices could get heard at all)
• How do we assure what we're doing "actually works for democracy" and the "public interest" (but never defines what that means)
• Says media is failing us today; victims are public; investigative journalism is dying (but never discusses how current FCC regulation affects the equation)
• cites Founders (Jefferson, Madison) re importance of media ... and then favorably cites McChesney & Nichols new book (ugh, someone needs to tell Commissioner Copps that McChesney is a neo-Marxist who wants to destroy all private media providers!)

Commissioner Baker
• 69,000 comments on the record and 30+ workshops for National Broadband Plan
• We need to repurpose universal service funds for broadband era
• Spectrum policy needs rethinking, need to make better use and get more to market
• Need comprehensive inventory and database; secondary markets are vital
• Net neutrality proceeding... not clear there is a systematic failure that warrants regulation
• NN regs could distort markets; could investment and innovation on Net
• Broadband deployed to about 90% of households
• No clear definition of Net neutrality; no shared concept; people taking past each other
• Many recognize that quality of service is important and network management is necessary
• Transparency could obviate the need for Net Neutrality regulations
• Unclear where FCC gets its jurisdiction; should wait for Court decision in Comcast case
• The FCC's "light touch" has worked and we shouldn't move away from it at this point (Amen!)

posted by Adam Thierer @ 2:52 PM | Broadband , Net Neutrality , Spectrum , The FCC