7 parting thoughts from FCC chair Martin

7 parting thoughts from FCC chair Martin

Summary: As Martin gets ready to depart as FCC chair, he calls on Congress not to delay digital TV transition date - and reflects on wins and losses during his term.


FCC chairman Kevin J. Martin at CES, widely expected to lose his chairmanship after Jan. 20:

  • The way to fix the transition to digital TV is not, as President-elect Obama wants, to delay the deadline past Feb. 17, but to immediately fund more vouchers for consumers to buy conversion units. [ Broadcasting & Cable.]
    "The problem with moving the date is we've spent a lot of energy and resources trying to get people prepared for Feb. 17, broadcasters have spent a lot of energy, and you've [referring to the consumer electronic industry] spent a lot of energy," said Martin.
  • The FCC screwed up the D-block auction by "put[ting] too much uncertainty" into the process and "too much burden" on the potential bidders. [PCMag.]
  • The cable industry desperately needs competition to staunch ever-rising prices.
    I wish we'd make more progress on trying to have additional competition on the video side to address what we've seen as a dramatic price increase for cable customers.
  • Telephone subsidies should be used to fund universal broadband. "Take that money, identify the areas in the country that don't have any access to broadband and focus all of our money and resources there."
  • Congress should loosen rules governing the agency so commissioners can speak with each other outside of official meetings and the agency's votes can be made public.
  • White space technology "is going to be very important and it's going to open up a whole new way of communication."
  • The Comcast action was an attempt to strike a balance that both rewards infrastructure investment, but made sure that that infrastructure investment… means that that platform is open [as well as the] devices attached to it."

Topics: Mobility, CXO, Government, Government US, Hardware, Networking, Telcos

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.


Log in or register to join the discussion
  • Martin is not a cogent thinker...

    nor are any of the people at the FCC. The FCC has been a blight on our government for far too long.

    It's time to get people who have a clue about technology, and are less worried about lining their pockets from lobbyists and others.

    The entire FCC should be cleared, and when a new start is made, the chairmen should have to have a PhD in physics as a start to proper qualifications.

    The FCC has been wasting too much time setting new policy, and not spending enough time enforcing the existing policies.
  • What idiot picked February?

    Perhaps Mr. Kevin Martin can send whoever it was who picked February over to my neighborhood to let him risk crawling up on the ice-covered roof of my retired widowed neighbor to work on her TV antenna. The date sounds suspiciously like yet another 'nudge' from the CATV industry to wrangle in more customers at $50/month. How about passing an FCC regulation that Basic CATV must be provided for free for all over age 65? :-)

    FYI, the "Cliff Effect" in digital is cutting off a lot more OTA subscribers than I suspect the 'Authorities' realize. In helping my retired neighbor, it seems to be adversely impacting Public Television a lot more than the major networks.

    • Congress picked February!

      Congress set the transition date in the Digital Television Transition and Public Safety Act of 2005.
  • RE: 7 parting thoughts from FCC chair Martin

    RE: Congress and the FCC
    We're the idiots who keep electing public officials who are more interested in their own agendas and pork projects than they are about their "constituents". Isn't it about time we made better choices? How about a referendum imposing term limits? It's pretty obvious that Congress isn't going to tackle that one....