Powell: Cable and Broadcast Regulations Need Rethinking

Author: John Eggerton
Coverage Type: reporting
National Cable & Telecommunications Association (NCTA), 25 Massachusetts Avenue, NW, Washington, DC, 20001-1413, United States

The good news for broadcasters is that National Cable & Telecommunications Association President Michael Powell championed broadcast deregulation. The bad news is that he said that should happen because broadband was poised to supplant broadcasting as the best use of the nation's spectrum.

Powell said technology was going to force the government to reconsider its deregulatory models, even if that is short of a complete overhaul of the Telecommunications Act of 1996. "Congress and the FCC are on the verge, perhaps for the first time, of declaring that the highest and best use of spectrum is not broadcasting, but broadband," he said in a speech to the Media Institute in Washington. While a speech about communications and jobs is common these days, Powell's was linked to Steve Jobs and his mantra of simplicity. Like the less-is-more approach to Apple products' elegant functionality or rail thin TV sets, regulators should also look to pare back, he suggested. Powell was echoing another former FCC chair, Reed Hundt, who said back in 1994 that the Internet would become the common medium of the nation. Powell said that the two cornerstones on which the Act was built -- the public trustee model of broadcasting and the common carrier regime in telephony -- were "cracking badly."



Login to rate this headline.