tv The Communicators CSPAN January 24, 2011 8:00pm-8:29pm EST
let us not be remembered for our names, but by our deeds. we all stand on the shoulders of who came before us. i ask all of you to join us as we build a stronger south dakota. there will be times we disagree, but if we agree on the facts and set politics aside, there is much we can accomplish. it's amazing what you can do if you don't care who gets the credit. let's stand tall together so that the generations who follow us may live in a stronger, freer, better south dakota. thank you all very much. [applause] [applause] ..
session with meredith what will baker from a republican commissioner of the federal communications commission. >> meredith attwell baker is one of the two republicans who sits on the federal communications commission. she's our guest this week on "the communicators." thank you for being with us, commissioner pete >> thanks, it's a pleasure. >> eliza krigman is with us as well. she's with politico as our guest reporter. commissioner, if we could start with a vote that the fcc took this week which is the comcast-nbc merger. with your statement to attached strong reservations to the whole process and the vote itself. why? >> good question. his likely the sec has reviewed mergers and it's taken too long and the attached to many not pertinent conditions to the merger and this is my first time through a merger of the fcc, and
unfortunately i would have to say we found the same pitfalls. for instance, comcast deal with this merger with us on janaria 28 of last year. we have an internal shop class of 180 days for review. this is a big merger and should be thoroughly vetted and we should carefully consider it, but i think that we should do it in a more common manner. as far as the conditions go, let's just take one for instance broadband deployment. now you know i've been involved in the policy area for the last eight years really with the main goal as broadband deployment. but we have under condition forced comcast to build up to 400,000 households broadband. while this may be an exciting move, it seems to me know where is there a nexus between a merger between a programmer and a distributor that causes us to force them to go about broadband. it is just illustrative of the
leverage that we have over these companies that are petitioning us. let's take one more, princetons, condition we have that is pertinent to the merger and that is the mundane video. the danger is comcast now owning nbc would withhold nbc programming from other online internet sites such as apple or maybe google tv. that's the legitimate concern but this image might produce. however, i think that the broad scope of the condition and the duration of seven years is problematic. if we took and sat down with five of the people deciding what online programming is cui to look like with these companies, we would get five different decisions as to what the business plan looks like, what consumers want and how to monetize the on-line programming we don't know what is the and to
look like so i think seven years is a really long time to have a condition when those people who are actually giving it don't know what it's going to look like any way. i'm afraid we are market forming as opposed to a regulatory conditions. is back where did the seven years come from? >> i think it's longer than we ever had at the fcc. it's shorter than the average of the department of justice, and we work together with the department of justice to come up with seven years. >> did you consider, because of the conditions, voting against this merger? >> we considered it, but i think that we are for the merger. i think is going to be good for consumers and provide an interesting business opportunity for programmers and so i think we work toward a moderate conditions and lots of times it deals with everything they want. should congress narrow the scope of authority the fcc has over these reviews? something that's kind of mengin or pub debt or is it a matter of self restraint of the commissioners? >> i know that what the congress
wants to do is we are a creature of congress and do what congress tells us to do and the congress is going to take a look at it and certainly is an area of concern that i have. >> if it were to you how would be conducted differently? >> it would have been more rapid in a timely manner and i think the conditions would be specific. there be in excess caused by the merger to the conditions and their artistic whole host of the fall/winter conditions that are extraneous to the deal. >> commissioner attwell baker, eliza mentioned congress and there is a new republican house and the 112 congress, and one of the things that they've talked about several members of the energy and commerce committee especially talked about is bringing the fcc to task and hearings up on the hill. how do you see that? >> i expect to spend a lot of time on capitol hill the next few months. as late understand the first order of business is to look at
our network neutrality rule and as you know, this is something i have objected to and if we want to talk about all of my objections to this, we might be here all day. but i think, you know, my basic exemption to bid is i wish we had been more humbled. i think if we look past the internet and the past five years of us would be happy with what we had now and if we want to look forward to the next five years we can't really predict what the next generation of the internet is going to look like. i think the engineers have done a terrific job on the first and second generation of the internet and i not sure the regulators to step in for the third and fourth generation. we don't know what opportunities and challenges are going to come in the next generation of the internet, and i just think the government involvement is going to hinder the innovation as opposed to help. >> marsha blackburn who sits on the committee is already introduced legislation to reverse what the sec did when it
comes to net neutrality. do you support her legislation? >> i do support for legislation. there are two points here. i don't think the net neutrality was necessary. there's no problem we are addressing, no market failure. this is the one part of the economy that is working, so from a fundamental standpoint i don't think we need the legislation that the second part is we have exceeded our authority. there is no place where in our statute the congress has given jurisdiction over the internet as we have exceeded our authority. it's a very healthy discussion to talk about the internet and the jurisdiction of the internet and what to do, but i think that is the congress choice, happy the congress will continue to have these discussions and tell us what the proper role of the fcc is. >> do you think the court is clear to uphold the net mitchell the regulation because many have speculated there are short to be lawsuits challenging it. >> i find it highly likely the court will overturn our rules. what we've done is basically -- not to get too legalistic what
we've done is face the majority of our jurisdiction on a section of the communications act that asks us to write a report to congress on how the broadband deployment is going and to get rid of any impediments to the broadway and deployment great to say that network neutrality rules have anything to do with that i think is a strong legal stretch so i do think the court is going to overturn it and i'm hopeful the conversation will continue in congress. estimate does it matter whether the case is heard in the district court that ruled against the fcc in a contest case? >> i don't think it really makes a difference. the def strict court is familiar with this case. they did a quick turnaround on the comcast decision, so i think maybe they're the most experts on this particular matter but i think that it is a legal case is weak enough that it doesn't matter where it goes i figure will be turned around. shapiro n the program and he talked about
spectrum and broadcasters. we want to show you a little part of what he had to say and then dig your reaction. >> certainly broadcasters or a phenomenal political lobby and the terrified members of congress with their power to use the broadcast signal in a way that demonizes members of congress. but i think devotee recognizes when they were first loaned the spectrum, and it is a loan, they do not own the spectrum, it is borrow, they had 100% of the population covered. we had three or four channels and that was eight. now broadcasters peace we are going as a primary source in less than 10% of american homes. their cans using cable and satellites and also frankly using increasing the internet as a primary source exclusive source of information of broadband so when you are in fewer than 10% of american homes you have to see is it worth to get all the beachfront property.
>> gary shapiro obviously is the head of the consumer electronics association and spectrum is something you have spoken on several locations. >> i'm glad we get to talk about something we liked. >> i think it's so important and then we can get to the question on garrey. so, mobile broadband is what was all over the consumer electronics for this year. i guess it was in june of 2007 when the iphone was introduced. in that time from there until now, 40% of americans actually use the smart phone. a smart phone use a standard 50 megabits per month to the average user celeste went steve jobs introduced the ipad on the consumer electronics for there were 90 tablets on so it is a game changer and it's sort of the next venue. but the thing is a gig. so the united states is at a place we are using one byte that
is 1 billion gigs a year. from what we have seen they say it's going to double what every year by 2014. i think is going to quadruple so we are in a place we are quickly approaching the spectrum of exhaustion. what do we do about that? it's clear we need more spectrum. some of it may come from the broadcasters, some may come from federal users. we need to to work cooperatively for more spectrum that we keep talking about broadcasters and incentive options and i think what we need is a more comprehensive spectrum policy, and that is not only more spectrum, it's using the spectrum we have more in efficiently. it's encouraging of the deployment and development of more innovative consumer electronics techniques, and it's also changing the paradigm as to how we think about new interference. >> in order to have more effective use of spectrum, do you still need the broadcasters
that change the way they are using it to relinquish, there is still a political fight here even if we are going to be going down the efficiency route rather than unleash the market. >> i think we need to pursue all paths, and i went through the digital television tradition that was just a year ago so we have known the broadcasters just i guess it's a year-and-a-half ago. i think we need to give them a chance. they are looking at mobile broadband and they are looking at -- or mobile television. they are looking at the hd television. this is as portrayed as a broadcaster and broadband and i think that there is a place for both of them. there is a place for one to one and one timoney, so i think that broadcasters are an important part of the voluntary incentive options and what i sort of which we started with is the incentive options for the satellite spectrum because it is clear we have too much satellite spectrum and not enough terrestrial
spectrum, and it is an easier discussion because it is more right, the broadcasters are still just beginning to find what the new business models are going to become so i again i think the conversations of to take place on multiple levels. we got a great letter from senator olympia snowe this week talking about this is a piece of the plight but what about the spectrum inventory and creating a database to the spectrum inventory so we can have more sharing and secondary markets so i think we need to pursue all paths if we are going to have america remain competitive. >> in a recent speech in stockholm you leave out fight serious using the spectrum management should look at. number one, you said we should promote the creation of the interoperable dynamic spectrum databases. could you expand on that old? >> i think that well, so, we had been regulating the retial technology sort of the same from when it just began 1934
communications act when the radio was an analog signal it was precious. you had to protect both sides of it. what we have now are these fabulous digital technologies that are inherently accepting to packet dropping, so we kind of can look at how we can share spectrum in a new way than we ever have before. these are smart technologies that can tell 90 present of the spectrum at any time is on you stand these technologies if we can encourage them and use them and share than they can make more efficient use of the spectrum that we have. >> another area that you lay out is me to look at service rules to ensure that the enable and encourage spectrum users to take it advantage of the new information technology. >> no doubt about it but i think is if we have a comprehensive spectrum data base that includes the federal and then on federal then we can encourage but secondary markets where people can see where the spectrum is they want to use, spot leasing
and spectrum trading. i think that within all sorts of -- we have much more flexibility in the technologies we are using now than we did previously and i think the we need to update our regulatory model to do that. one other illegal mengin we need to ensure secondary market rules and encourage efficient spectrum use. >> absolutely. again, it's 90% at any given time of the spectrum as being u.n. joost certainly we need to encourage the deployment of these commercial technologies that can utilize it if it on the secondary basis it's on the secondary basis. >> so given what you have spoken about on the spectrum what do you think about an option on the block for public safety? >> this has been a vexing problem in the long time. part of the visual transition that was exciting is we were going to give the police and firefighters the technology that they need to interlock aveda and the times of crisis and it is still one of the most critical
things and responsibilities that we have. there are competing ideas as to what to do. if there was one of right answer i think we would have moved forward with it. i look forward to working with those members of congress interested in it to try to make a decision so that by the anniversary of 9/11 this year we can actually have a plan forward so that we can have interoperable communications. >> do you lean towards the dedicated area? >> i think both models work, and i look forward to working with those who are interested in the subject and it is quintessentially important we find an answer. the policemen, the first responders to search a network. >> as i understand the commission has the authority to offer off of the d block and that is in the broadband planas is it for political reasons the commission isn't moving for this, to let it play out of congress or is it something else? >> i think it's both.
the commission was moving forward in one way and the congress with some dissent on that, and i think that again we are a creature of congress. the answer to congress. the only thing i would say is we are building all these 4g networks now and for it to be as cost-effective as possible we need to move forward. >> next week the fcc will be leaving the technical groundwork for the interoperable the network. one that americans hope to have it working. >> i hope soon as possible. >> there's no specific time frame? >> we're going to be arriving upon the tenth anniversary of 9/11 and we still don't have it but there is no ballpark figure? >> i don't control the agenda at the fcc. all i can do is encourage us to work together to find a solution. >> this is c-span's "the communicators" program. every guest is - boutwell baker commissioner on the federal communications commission. against reporter eliza krigman at politico. next topic area get
>> another issue you are going to be looking at in february is the reform of the universal service fund. could you delineate with the agency can do on its own and what it needs the congress to legislate? if there are bills in congress and it's a little bit technical and confusing to the estimate is technically confusing and i use the word bone crunching confusing. it's an $8.8 billion fund. last quarter of the contribution factor was 15.5% and what that means is it is a 15.5% tax on every once phone bill. its $8 on a $50 phone bill. that is a lot in an economically challenging time. it's clear that it isn't sustainable and that it needs reform, and i think we have commitments from all sides of the commissioners to move forward on that. congress is also interested in this and if congress has more ideas on how to revise the fund that's been traditionally for
telephone for broadband, then obviously those ideas are very welcome. i think we all kind of have similar starting point which is there needs to be a path for all the americans towards a broadband future. there's more businesses, more consumer become all of this is on broadband and we need to provide a path for that. >> the second point is that it's too big. this is a very large and unsustainable fund, and i think that it's -- we need to look at the efficiencies and make it the transparencies and acknowledge that this is taxpayer money that we need to spend efficiently. and i guess i would say the last point is that we need to work together on the universal service fund because broadband is so important. >> using all five commissioners you think agree that some reform is needed? >> we all agree reform is needed and we agree on the high level
talking point. the broadband plan laid out a very comprehensive path forward with a glide to go from voice to broadband over ten years. as we work towards the details the devil was in the details on something this large and ingrained and complex. we are going to start in february and what we have as many options and we are going to take comment on a lot of different paths for word and work together to see what we can do to find a broadband future for america. >> commissioner attwell maker use if you're going to start in february. is there a planned change in the usf that you see going forward? >> we call with the proposed rule making which will be voted on in the tiberi meeting. the air carrier compensation as the other part that makes it even more complex. it's going to take as a weigel. beagle to build consensus. again, it's very complex and there is a lot of ingrained
people providing a voice to the rural areas right now. we can't in danger that as we move forward on the broadband plan so we are going to work to see if we can build consensus toward a broad and future pps connect can you explain about the intricate your compensation? i think it is someone like choosing the corporate winners and losers of the money is. is that the case? how will that change and will but be part of the broadband fund you were hoping to move for? steny it is complex but it is what it says in the carrier compensation. so the carriers exchange money traffic, and as we move again from as the traffic is moved towards the backbone of the internet and voice over ip is tichenor for the switch telephone networks as we have traditionally used this has changed as well so we will be
working there's a lot of experts working in congress as well on these matters and a lot of members of congress extremely interested so we will be working hand in glove how we help define this. i used to say in our carrier compensation had a working plan called the manzullo plant where the carriers sat down at a table and they were not quite able to go across the goal line, so i think we will probably have to roll up our sleeves and work on it. it's been a commissioner baker, do you see the congress moving ahead with a real right or update of the 96 telecom act? >> you know, i have given up a long time ago predicting what congress is going to do, is it going to do. i'm hopeful because i do think that we are trying to work with an outdated communications act, we are trying to put a square
peg in a round hole as the saying goes, so i'm hopeful we can work with them. sometimes it takes awhile for the issues in congress. certainly we've been talking about net neutrality for a decade and we are still just even now don't quite understand the confines of that term so let me to the weigel but we are willing to work with the contras if they wish us to. >> where would you like to see it at eight? >> i think it needs to be updated for the internet age. >> eliza krigman? >> how would you define met neutrality as we try to grapple with this an amorphous interim? >> again we believe in an open internet and free flow of information and the innovation and experimentation important to the next generation of the internet, so i think i would like to stick with net neutrality right there that we believe and need an open internet. >> yesterday commissioner mcdowell said that if the rules don't follow in court this
is just the beginning of the net new trouble the discussion because i will be revisited every time there is a complete. do you agree with that? >> i do agree and we are already seeing that the fcc. we have a complaint about backbone complete and it is generally been a competitive industry. it's not been regulated and it was excluded from the net neutrality order because of its competitiveness. we are already seeing companies in the system and define the net neutrality so that we will take part in some of those disagreements, commercial disagreements and carriers. >> commissioner baker in a recent speech to the federal bar association, new urged restraint i think is the best way to put it and i will read your words so i am not interpreting them. we must resist the urge to radically tiahrt from our existing framework in an effort to engineer a better results or specific flavors of competition. why?
>> i think that that's -- i believe we don't need to build the house of regulation in case something might happen. if there is a problem we can fix it. i'm afraid from our regulations we are going to engineer a one-size-fits-all and lose the innovation and experimentation that does make this industry so robust. i and the fcc -- there's an article actually in the "washington post" that is quite good and it talks about the same thing that the government is now having to find a solution to everything and i agree with george will we don't actually need to do that. we used to talk about politics in a very limited manner and not any social policy has an adjoining public policy to it and i think that this is a place where the industry is doing really well without our help and we need to exercise restraint and humility. >> where does the fcc need to exercise regulatory control? where is it important?
>> our traditional pipeline is radio, television, you know, we have public interest response devotees, localism and broadcast responsibilities we have traditional responsibilities. we regulate the infrastructure. >> do you think that congress the transition rules that govern how cable and broadcasters, not just cable and broadcast but the right to carry? >> good question. congress has given us a limited role and i think that as in the many years of change it could be right for them to revisit. the every transmission consent, we should have perspective on this. it is basically a billion dollars out of the 30 bill developer gunning industry, so it is a small part come and of the transmission disputes, most of the large majority get solved without any sort of high-profile problems. we do here several years, a
handful a year on would say, so it's right because i am dressed and both sides of the problem. you've got broadcasting which is changing, and give the cable industry that has competitive pressure not to have to raise their prices, as it's a natural kind of a flare-up of the dispute. we traditionally know that espn and tnt at the cost to it. we are not quite sure cbs and abc are going to have a cost attached. what is that cost? as broadcast moves into a new generation these are the national discussions to take place. is it our job at this point, chris has given us a limited response to petites? if congress wants to revisit and we will have a broad one. should there be more transparency of the draft legislation by senator kerry or do you think that companies have the right to maintain the financial loss because of the negotiation as private? >> i think what we need to watch out for our consumers, so if there is going to be some sort of the lay or if we are going to
lose a signal that we need to let consumers know. as far less transparency what the right and their rates and the conditions for the terms are the private negotiation. >> commissioner baker, finally one of the aspects that you talk about in your speech is the international aspect of the telecommunications and spectrum policy, when those regulations stop at the u.s. borders and when does it