Feeds

FCC Chairman will stop at nothing to 'level the playing field'

Quells VoIP 911 terror

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

SuperComm Many of you will be familiar with those Play-Doh presses that squeeze out turds of brightly colored goo in the shape of stars, circles or, these days, waffles. Well, imagine that Harvard Law School had one of these presses and replaced the colorful Play-Doh with mounds of dull, white flesh and then replaced the star or circle design with the outline of a bureaucratic suit. That's how we figure new FCC (Federal Communications Commissioner) Commissioner Kevin Martin came into being after seeing him speak yesterday at the Supercomm conference here in Chicago.

Martin wooed the Supercomm crowd with his boyish looks, southern charm and disarming approach to answering questions about the US communications agenda. If nothing else, Martin's tone provided a refreshing change from the ego-driven salesman Michael Powell who served before him. When not keeping children protected from breasts, Powell always seemed to be hawking Tivo, HDTV or PDAs. Despite saying "shop and buy" was the message he wanted to leave with the Supercomm crowd, Martin didn't go quite as far as Powell with the product placements, and we thank him for that.

Instead, Martin proved rather charming and humble. An IP-enabled, capitalist Cincinnatus came to mind.

"Establishing a regulatory environment that is conducive for . . . creating a level playing field for the various service provides out there" will be one of the "top priorities for the Commission going forward," he said during a question and answer session. And later, "I think the Commission needs to do all it can . . . to create a level playing field." And later, "I hope that people say I was fair in trying to address these issues - that we did try to make some progress in creating a level playing field."

Them Harvard boys know how to stay on message.

The level playing field at hand has teclos, cable companies, internet start-ups and others fighting to get their piece of a converging communications pie. The Commission has in many instances helped out young firms by giving them a chance to break into markets dominated by big, old players. And even when it gives VoIP providers, for example, a hard time for not having adequate 911 emergency calling, the Commission is really helping out these fledgling companies, despite their objections. As Martin pointed out, consumers will be much more impressed with this new technology if it can handle the basics that we've all come to expect.

But this level playing field message and some more chatter about "broadband for everyone" seemed to be all Martin could muster. Granted he wasn't being pushed too hard by the two trade body presidents doing the interviewing. We, however, had higher hopes for the young Chairman who took over the FCC in March.

"Broadband technology has a real impact in almost every aspect of consumers' lives," he said.

Er.

"It has a real impact on people in the way they can educate themselves and the way they are able to work."

Hmm.

"It really has an impact on everything that will touch a consumer's life."

Um.

"It has a real, positive impact directly on consumers."

We get it; we get it. Broadband is the new Everything.

And about the lack of 911 emergency services with VoIP.

"It was creating life-threatening problems for consumers."

Yeah, having VoIP is really living on the edge.

One gets the feeling that Martin's only friends are Bill Gates and the guy that fills George Bush's iPod with songs.

It's great to see yet another FCC Chairman who loves technology and maintains a working vocabulary for the important discussion items. These folks, however, seem so divorced from a real populace that finds the internet interesting, amusing and helpful but hardly life-altering. It would be great to create a Play-Doh FCC Chairman less concerned with shoving IP-enabled devices into our pockets at the lowest price and more concerned with, well, good, insightful communication. ®

Related stories

Cost of net phone calls may rise
Court blasts FCC on broadcast flag
Vonage bows to 911 pressure
US to embrace VoIP
Vonage expands UK service

Remote control for virtualized desktops

More from The Register

next story
NSA SOURCE CODE LEAK: Information slurp tools to appear online
Now you can run your own intelligence agency
Azure TITSUP caused by INFINITE LOOP
Fat fingered geo-block kept Aussies in the dark
Yahoo! blames! MONSTER! email! OUTAGE! on! CUT! CABLE! bungle!
Weekend woe for BT as telco struggles to restore service
Cloud unicorns are extinct so DiData cloud mess was YOUR fault
Applications need to be built to handle TITSUP incidents
BOFH: WHERE did this 'fax-enabled' printer UPGRADE come from?
Don't worry about that cable, it's part of the config
Stop the IoT revolution! We need to figure out packet sizes first
Researchers test 802.15.4 and find we know nuh-think! about large scale sensor network ops
SanDisk vows: We'll have a 16TB SSD WHOPPER by 2016
Flash WORM has a serious use for archived photos and videos
Astro-boffins start opening universe simulation data
Got a supercomputer? Want to simulate a universe? Here you go
Microsoft adds video offering to Office 365. Oh NOES, you'll need Adobe Flash
Lovely presentations... but not on your Flash-hating mobe
prev story

Whitepapers

Driving business with continuous operational intelligence
Introducing an innovative approach offered by ExtraHop for producing continuous operational intelligence.
Why CIOs should rethink endpoint data protection in the age of mobility
Assessing trends in data protection, specifically with respect to mobile devices, BYOD, and remote employees.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Protecting against web application threats using SSL
SSL encryption can protect server‐to‐server communications, client devices, cloud resources, and other endpoints in order to help prevent the risk of data loss and losing customer trust.