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Well, At Least One FCC Commissioner Isn’t An Idiot

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Federal Communications Commissioner Michael J. Copps isn’t happy about how the commission has handled a number of recent issues, and is speaking loudly about it. And if one is as disgruntled as much of the public is, then that might be a positive sign.


Well, At Least One FCC Commissioner Isn't An Idiot
Well, At Least One FCC Commissioner Isn’t An Idiot

But only if the other commissioners come on board with the American people, rather than turning a blind eye to corporate manipulation.

And I don’t know if that looks likely until a new commission is in place.

Copps’ most recent tongue-lashing comes from a speech about the state of broadband in the US, and the sound bites are doozies.

Copps calls the broadband access and the net neutrality debate "the great infrastructure challenge of our time," and bemoans the FCC’s reluctance to regulate phone and cable companies to prevent them from taking advantage of a government-allowed oligopoly.

"Unfortunately our record on broadband is so poor that every citizen in this country ought to be outraged," said Copps in a speech at YearlyKos.

He also debunked arguments that the US’s 15th in the world position for broadband penetration was because the population was less dense than the rest of the world, noting that Canada, Norway, and Sweden all rank above the US with less dense populations.

It also implies that urban speeds and access in urban areas are superior, even if Washington, DC is far behind Seoul Korea.

Copps’s remarks are snowballing into an overarching theme of pulling the reins on media consolidation and corporate gatekeepers. His comments on broadband match others on the concerns regarding the wireless spectrum, and News Corp.’s buyout of Dow Jones.

In a statement issued after the rules were set, Copps said, "[W]e have seen a wave of consolidation among wireless incumbents that has substantially increased the hurdles facing potential new entrants. And now we live in a world where the two leading wireless companies are owned in whole or in part by the leading wireline telephone companies."

And these same companies want to act as gatekeepers on the Internet as well, ending the long-running Net Neutrality that has ensured an unprecedented place in the democratic process for the American people.

"What’s good for shareholders of huge media conglomerates isn’t always what’s good for the public interest or our civic dialogue," he said.

Media consolidation, too, is concern for Copps, and said people shouldn’t be too quick to think News Corp.’s acquisition of Dow Jones is a done deal.

The Hollywood Reporter quotes him as saying:

"This deal means more media consolidation and fewer independent voices, and it specifically impacts the local market in New York City. We should immediately conduct a careful factual and legal analysis of the transaction to determine how it implicates specific FCC rules and our overarching statutory obligation to protect the public interest. I hope nobody views this as a slam-dunk."

Copps’ concerns echo a growing concern in the public that too few companies have too much control of important media in their everyday lives and will diminish their voice in the democratic process.

Well, At Least One FCC Commissioner Isn’t An Idiot
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