I am greatly disappointed that the FCC has become so partisan and fractious. Far too many years ago, Commissioners of both Parties sought compromise rather than self-aggrandizement and accommodation of a few key stakeholders. The public interest served as a goal worth identifying and serving.
As recently as 2005, all Commissioners could reach closure on basic principles of the role of the FCC in helping shape the Internet. Every Commissioner agreed that the FCC could achieve a greater good with well-calibrated oversight and a limited regulatory regime, neither interventionist nor libertarian. This agreement did not take a lot of pages, did not originate in the word processor of an outside law firm, or consultant and did not require endorsement by sponsored researchers, political parties and the most vocal and deep pocketed stakeholders.
Going further back in time, the Republican Party’s public interest mandate included rigorous antitrust enforcement and a commitment to a level competitive playing field. You might not know that in true Teddy Roosevelt fashion, President Nixon’s Justice Department started the litigation that eventually resulted in the divestiture of AT&T and the unleashing of competitive energies.
No one had to overreach, or grandstand. No one had to write 50 page dissents. No one dared resort to smugness, righteous indignation and arrogance.
Rob Frieden, Pioneers Chair and Professor of Telecommunications and Law
Pennsylvania State University