The FCC at 75: Time for Reform


Federal Communications Commission Chairman Michael Copps spoke at a Federal Communications Bar Association event celebrating 75 years of the FCC. He began by asking: "How do we take this 75 year old agency, charged with implementing our formative communications law, and make sure it is up to the challenges of the 21st century? Born in the world of primitive radio sets, raised on plain old telephone service, now trying to manage high-speed broadband and orbiting satellites, can we make it an agency for all seasons?" He complained that the FCC's processes have become "opaque rather than transparent" and reiterated that it is time to return to the agency's mission to protect consumers. He called for predictability -- making policy through rules and making decisions flowing from good data, hard facts and acknowledged expertise. A large, new task for the FCC is the development of a national broadband strategy -- something Chairman Copps has been calling for since he arrived at the FCC almost eight years ago. But Chairman Copps went further to raise the issue of so much of our communications moving to the Internet in the years ahead. "How to keep that Internet open and dynamic is an important part of this dialogue. But so is how to ensure that as the Internet becomes our primary vehicle for communicating with one another, it protects the public interest and informs the civic dialogue that America depends upon for its democracy?"

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