FCC Chairman Kevin Martin is calling it quits as of inauguration day. The Chairman, who could have served for three more years, is heading to the Aspen Institute, a preserve for endangered spectacles masquerading as a “nonprofit leadership group.” Martin’s tenure was a mixed bag for consumers…
…marked by both surprising stands and devastating proposals that managed to anger pretty much all of Washington.
- Martin’s FCC smacked down Comcast for crippling Bit Torrent;
- Carriers participating in the Great Wireless Auction auction were forced to abide by open-carrier principles;
- Martin tried to institute à la carte programming by invoking the power to regulate the cable industry;
- Cable companies were told they could no longer strike exclusive deals with apartment complexes.
- The FCC has thoroughly bungled the transition to digital television;
- The two satellite radio companies were allowed to form a monopoly;
- Martin championed a widely unpopular media consolidation plan to let broadcasters own both a tv station and a newspaper in the same market;
- The Commission destroyed a report saying media consolidation was bad for local news;
- Not all Commissioners had access to FCC resources, or even saw the proposals they were voting on in advance.
Martin explains that all of his decisions were guided by a belief that “a robust, competitive marketplace, not regulation, is ultimately the best protector of the public interest and the best method of delivering the benefits of choice, innovation, and affordability to American consumers.”
Whether Americans will get to ever enjoy that robust, competitive marketplace remains to be seen. We hear Barack Obama plans to replace the Spectacles of Hope with an Orange Julius, one that will hopefully appreciate the government’s continuing responsibility to safeguard the marketplace.
FCC Chairman Martin to Step Down Next Week [The Washington Post]