The industry is well aware Trump and the majority of the Republican party are not fans of net neutrality, but could this ultimately lead to the demise of the FCC?
Originally uncovered by Ars Technica, one of President-elect’s key advisors Mark Jamison has written a blog post which essentially calls for the end of the majority of the FCC. The message was posted last month, entitled ‘Do we need the FCC?’, argues the majority of the functions should be transferred to other agencies aside from license radio spectrum, though this should only be concerned over the property right for use and not about content.
Following last week’s announcement Mark Jamison and Jeffrey Eisenach are joining the Trump landing team to oversee the transition of the FCC to the new administration, it would have been fair to assume the net neutrality stance of the agency would be altered. Reading between the lines, Jamison and Eisenach will make sure Wheeler and co. meet the Trump administration’s expectations on how certain segments should be regulated, with both appearing to be against net neutrality.
While those who lean left politically have cause to worry following the appointments, the latest revelation spreads the worry to all corners of the FCC. Moving responsibilities elsewhere would see a much leaner agency and a number of people who would find themselves as excess.
To be honest, this wouldn’t be the first time a public figure has said something controversial in a previous life; the ‘radical’ views are rarely carried through once in a position of responsibility. That said, the Trump rollercoaster has been anything but conventional thus far.
The blog post was relatively short however Jamison has made a couple of notable claims. Firstly, the FCC has become redundant as its initial purpose was to oversee telephone monopolies’ interstate services and regulate broadcasting, though telco network providers and ISPs are rarely, if ever, monopolies nowadays.
Secondly, the FCC only remains to remain the status quo and dissolving such an agency is a time consuming task; Congress has other priorities meaning the FCC continues to exist via default.
Thirdly, recent FCC activities are politically driven not as a result of economic study, thus negating the independence of the organization. This point is drawn directly from the net neutrality argument as Jamison argues Wheeler and co. have driven forward net neutrality policies because of their political persuasion as opposed to a balanced view. This means certain segments have benefited at the expense of others.
There are other points, those these are the ones which Telecoms.com has chosen to focus on. To read the full blog posting, follow this link.
Considering Jamison’s quite vocal opposition of net neutrality policies, it becomes quite difficult to view this opinion as anything but biased. If the argument was made by someone on more a neutral footing it would be taken a bit more seriously, but Jamison would appear to be such an opponent of net neutrality it does come across as another political battle-ground.
Overall Jamison argues current activities from the FCC does not support investment into telco infrastructure and actually inhibits the growth of the industry. This isn’t the first time such views have been aired however. In July, Jamison also wrote Hilary Clinton’s universal broadband proposals would ‘be a drag on the economy’, as well as public engagement in policy making would inhibit progress a couple of years back.
As mentioned before, views in a previous life are not necessarily taken into public office, but it could be seen as a worry for those in the FCC. Ultimately Jamison wants to see the FCC stripped back with certain responsibilities transferred to other agencies. This stance should not really surprise many. Considering Jamison right sided political views it would be more likely he would favour deregulation and greater commercial influence in policy making.
While your correspondent does not support the idea net neutrality should be dismissed, Jamison has come to quite a valid point, albeit by accident. Perhaps the FCC, or the same FCC, is the wrong body to regulate the new digital era.
Digital transformation is usually a term associated with the evolution of an organization wanting to take advantage of technology and business models now available to them. Government and regulators also have to undertake a digital transformation journey to make sure policies are relevant to the new connected world. Almost every government will be undertaking this journey, but the question is who is overseeing it?
Adapting current laws and regulations, those written in an analogue or pre-cloud age, will not be a successful venture. A new approach, starting from scratch, needs to be taken and sometimes this also means new people. Those who worked and regulated the analogue world will always have habits born in the analogue world, and therefore not always suitable for the digital world.
As most IT organizations are finding employees who are unable to adapt to the connected world, they are having to be replaced by more appropriate individuals. This might sound harsh, but it is true; some will not be able to adapt. The same can be said of politicians and civil servants; not all will be able to evolve to the digital economy. If the rest of us are subject to risks associated with the evolution to the digital economy, why should those in public office be protected?
Jamison may have gotten to the point by accident, but it is nonetheless a valid one. The FCC and other public sector organizations need to evolve, just like the rest of us.