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Statement on the Nomination of Julius Genachowski to Be Chairman of the Federal Communications Commission

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Statement on the Nomination of Julius Genachowski to Be Chairman of the Federal Communications Commission

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Washington, D.C., January 13, 2009—If Mr. Genachowski
recognizes the private sector’s primacy in expanding consumer options and the
harm and confusion created by central regulation of communications, and stands
ready to roll back the unnecessary influence of the FCC on the burgeoning
choices of consumers, he’ll prove to be a good choice. We would not likely
create an FCC today if it didn’t exist. Much of the oversight the agency
imposes could be transferred to markets, or eliminated; or in the final
analysis left with a general regulator like the Federal Trade Commission.

–for more, see the
CEI report Communications Without Commissions

To the extent Mr. Genachowski perpetuates unnecessary
governmental roles in communications and speech, or extends the agency's reach
to new turf, he is a bad choice. 

As an architect of the Obama technology agenda and from news
reports about the appointment, one can infer some stances that are worrisome. 

He seemingly supports net neutrality regulation.  Regulating neutrality, which is more of an
engineering principle than a political one, would artificially pit content and
infrastructure companies against one another. This and other unintended
consequences of neutrality regulation could hamper the development of future
infrastructure. The FCC should allow the openness of a network to be decided in
the free marketplace, while fostering greater competition through deregulation.
Rather than favoring any particular business model, government should be
rolling back franchise agreements and reforming spectrum allocation rules so
that the market has greater competition, not more regulation.

–for more, see Wayne’s
comments
to FCC
on the choice between net neutrality and “bandwealth.” 

He seemingly supports media ownership restrictions. In
a society that enshrines First Amendment free-speech guarantees, somehow regarding
it as valid to “restrict” media – the very watchdog of government power – is
ironic to say the least. A free society centers around open debate – government
regulating how loud a given voice in that debate can be is an abomination. As
long as our government isn’t practicing censorship, the very best way for
fresh, new and controversial ideas to reach audiences is to leave all
media outlets – from the conglomerates to the podcasters – alone. Advertisers,
competitors, investors, the next new communications technology and much more
are all arrayed against “big media,” to much greater effect than the FCC.

–for more, see Wayne’s
Communications Lawyer article “A Defense of
Media Monopoly
” 

He seemingly supports government investment in
broadband.  Apart from the distortionary and bubble-prone aspects
of such a policy, the proper approach to expanding all infrastructure is to
tear down the artificial walls between all our great network industries (cable,
telecom, electric power, water, sewer, rail, etc.) so that they can establish
joint ventures to actually close the digital divide. In addition, freeing
up spectrum markets is an important job for rural access.

–for more, see Wayne’s comment
on wealth-creating alternatives to “infrastructure stimulus.”

 

CEI is a non-profit, non-partisan
public policy group dedicated to the principles of free enterprise and limited
government.  For more information about
CEI, please visit our website at www.cei.org.