7 parting thoughts from FCC chair Martin

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.
Written by Richard Koman, Contributor

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."

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