March 16, 2005 12:43 PM PST

Bush chooses Martin as next FCC chairman

The Federal Communications Commission has a new chairman: Kevin Martin, who is expected to wield considerable influence during a period of radical change in the telecommunications and Internet business.

Kevin Martin
FCC's next chairman

Martin, an FCC commissioner who was appointed chairman by President Bush on Wednesday afternoon, will be responsible for shepherding the agency through a major revision to U.S. telecommunications laws and an upswing in telephone calling over the Internet.

"I am deeply honored to have been designated as the next chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, and I thank President Bush for this distinct privilege," Martin said. Bush's choice of Martin, a 38-year-old lawyer who once worked for the Bush-Cheney campaign, was expected.

While Martin occasionally clashed with fellow Republican Michael Powell, the outgoing chairman, observers said the FCC's general approach toward broadband regulation and voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) is likely to follow the same broad principles.

Many of the FCC's technology-related decisions, such as a 5-0 ruling last year dealing with VoIP wiretapping, were unanimous. Others, such as media ownership and VoIP regulation, tended to pit the Republican majority against the Democratic minority--a political dynamic not viewed as likely to change.

After news of Martin's new job leaked on Wednesday, accolades soon followed. Martin "has a record of supporting the administration's broadband policy, and that is good news for consumers and the communications sector," said Tom Tauke, Verizon Communications executive vice president for public affairs.

Herschel Abbott, BellSouth's vice president for governmental affairs, said Martin's "focus on enabling the rollout of broadband for consumers demonstrates a 21st century view of the communications marketplace. His skill and energy make him an outstanding choice to take over the chairmanship."

Where battle lines were drawn
One area of sharp disagreement between Martin and Powell involved a hotly contested February 2003 decision over how to promote competition among the former Bell companies and their rivals. The two FCC commissioners agreed on broadband rules but split over whether telephone companies must grant rivals access to their networks at deeply discounted rates.

Another difference is that while Powell has been criticized for a crackdown on broadcast indecency following Janet Jackson's "wardrobe malfunction," Martin has been even more aggressive in urging FCC action.

Martin dissented from the FCC's January ruling, which cleared a broadcast of "Saving Private Ryan" from indecency fines. In a letter to the Parents Television Council, Martin wrote, "We may be interpreting the (indecency) statute too narrowly. We also may need to

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Getting a fair deal from the Cable company
I am all for the "a la carte" approach!!!!

Who is the best person to contact to let our
representatives know what we the people want?
Does Martin have an E-mail address??

We need fair regulation of the prices ComCast
can charge for cable services. Since ComCast
took over for AT&T Broadband in my area, they
keep deleting channels from my cable package
telling me I have to purchase a bunch of
expensive packages just to get back two or three
channels back that I want.

Since ComCast is practically a monopoly, (and
many Condo Associations and Apartment Buildings
don't allow satellite dishes, or trees and/or the
terrain prohibit usage of a satellite dish),
essentially ComCast is a monopoly in many areas.

I work second-shift and all I want is about
twelve channels of programming at night THAT
ISN'T INFOMERCIALS. I would like to be able to
select the 12 channels that I want, without
having to purchase a multitude of packages of
Each package may have only three channels I would
ever watch, but I have to purchase that entire
package of channels to get the few that I want.

If they gave you your local channels and as a
starting baseline the choice of about 12
channels OF YOUR CHOOSING from any channel in the
category of the expanded analog channels and/or
also from the Digital channels (and gave you
these first 12 channels at a reasonable price), I
would be very very happy.

They could sell any combination of packages
of channels beyond the first initial 12 that they
see fit, but having to purchase all the packages
just to get the 12 that you want seems unreasonable. For someone that just wants basic
television, they stick you with paying for
features and channels you don't want, nor will
ever use.

They either should offer us better
introductory choices, or be broken-up so
competition and free market can provide the
consumer with a better deal.

Please help us in getting a fair deal from The Cable Company.

I appreciate your assistance.


Larry Oliveto
Derry, New Hampshire 02028
Posted by LarryO123 (1 comment )
Reply Link Flag
This guy is scary
Look for him to try and censor everything including Cable and Satlite all in the name of decency and protecting children. I'm all for protecting children, but parents, not the government need to take this role especially when it comes to TV.
Posted by Gerald Quaglia (72 comments )
Reply Link Flag

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