In his first blog, newly sworn-in FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler has given us some idea of what a Wheeler FCC competition policy may look like.
Noting that “[t]hese are important days in determining the future of our networks and their effect on our commerce and our culture,” Chairman Wheeler said that “as networks change, those charged with the responsibility of overseeing those networks must also evolve” While characterizing the FCC as “a pro-competition agency”, he also acknowledged that “competition does not always flourish by itself; it must be supported and protected if its benefits are to be enjoyed.”
He said the FCC stands for “the things that are important regardless of the network technology being used,” and emphasizes promoting economic growth, maintaining the “historic compact between networks and users” and making networks work. Importantly, he states that “a change in technology may occasion a review of the rules, but it does not change the rights of users or the responsibilities of networks.”
He called the FCC the “Optimism Agency” of the federal government and described its challenge as being “as nimble as the innovators and network builders who are creating these great opportunities.”
As to his intended management philosophy, Chairman Wheeler noted that the power of new networks is that they distribute activity away from the center to the edge and that effective companies structure themselves in the same way “by delegating responsibility and the authority that goes with it. I hope we can think as a distributed activity ourselves. We cannot sit around and wait for others – including the 8th floor – to come up with ideas and alternatives.” He pledged to “bring the information era practice of crowdsourcing to the thoughts and ideas of the FCC staff.”
Finally, the Chairman acknowledged the various proposals by Commissioners and FCC staff, members of Congress, and other stakeholders regarding the way in which the FCC conducts business and said he had asked Diane Cornell to head a temporary group looking into these proposals.