tv The Communicators CSPAN December 19, 2016 8:01am-8:33am EST
beginning at 11 a.m. eastern, we'll have coverage from springfield, illinois, harrisburg, pennsylvania, lansing, michigan, and richmond, virginia. live coverage on c-span. >> c-span, where history unfolds daily. in 1979, c-span was created as a public service by america's cable it's companies and is brought to you today but your cable or satellite provider. >> host: michael o'rielly of the federal communications commission, on january 20th your life changes. how will your professional life change at that point? >> guest: well, first of all, thank you so much for having me. it's a pleasure to be back on c-span and all the good work you do. you know, the change in administrations will bring a lot of change to our activities at the commission. i like to say that very few people vote based on telephone
cases policy, but the outcome does have dramatic impact on our activities and changes the minority of our makeup. so that will alter our current balance in terms of the breakdown. members of our five-member board, panel. so i anticipate that, you know, that it not be dramatically changed. we have some things, i'm sure, that will be different. but i'd also imagine that, you know, we can get back to regular work. >> host: and when you say "regular work," what do you mean by that? >> guest: well, i have worked in this space for quite a while, and i've seen commissions over the years, many different commissions. i tend to find this commission most troubling in terms of how it approaches issues, how i'm allowed to be involved in certain activities. and i'd like to believe whether you're in the majority or the minority, that you're able to, you know, participate and work with your other colleagues in a collaborative process that we
find the best outcome. you know, these issues are generally nonpartisan. there are a couple that do break along line, but these generally aren't, and good ideas should be taken no matter who offers them. that hasn't been how the current commission's operated. i'd like to believe the next one will. >> host: well, after january 20th what are some of your priorities? >> guest: so, you know, i think they have to flow from the decisions that need to be made by the president-elect, mr. trump. i do not speak for him or the new administration to be, but him and his team had a very successful election outcome, rightfully so, they get the opportunity to make some big decisions regarding the fcc including the new chairperson of the commission, any commissioner openings and a direction for the commission that will have impact on policies we make. so from that and those decisions, i hope to play some small part or, you know, whatever role that is asked of me, but i anticipate being there and being active in the issues that are put before us. >> host: now, your role as a
commissioner is not affected in any way in that sense, correct? >> guest: that's correct. >> host: let's bring in david kaute. >> yeah. obviously at least one of you going to be named interim chairman. can you provide any clarity on that? would you be interested in being chairman? there's a lot of rumblings that it'll probably be the senior commissioner, ajit pai. >> guest: i would be surprised, i haven't gotten any information otherwise, but i don't know that to be the case. but if it works out that way and they pick one, my colleague or myself, i will be happy to participate whatever role they ask of me to do. you know, the question has been posed in the pennsylvania would you be -- past would you be interested in being chairman, and i always say i focus on my current job and see where the chips fall where they may. >> yeah. what are you looking most forward to doing when you get into the majority, whatever your role is?
>> guest: well, i think there's four things that the commission needs to look at, and i say this humbly because, as i said, president-elect trump gets to set a number of new structural changes to the commission. but i believe that there are some things that the commission can do that will be helpful going forward. one, we need to remove regulatory -- [inaudible] these are a number of things that have been on the books and make no longer sense in the current marketplace. two, we need to fix and address the structure and the organization and the procedures of the commission itself. internal structure has broken down over the last number of years, and i'd like to see that improve. three, i think we move forward on a pro-growth, pro-innovation agenda. and i realize that's, those are buzzwords, but -- and i'll give you an example for purposes. i that there's something, you
know, the commission can do and be very aggressive in addressing the siting of antennas and towers for our next generationing of wireless networks. and fourth, i think the commission -- and this will play into the new chairperson and how, and what they'd like to do -- but i think the fourth thing is to undo bad policies that have been adopted by this commission on a partisan basis where my input, the input of my fellow republican commissioner pai was not considered or even, you know, or even given the time of day. and so i think we've counted somewhere in the low 30s, the number of items that have been adopted in that fashion, and i think it's going to, you know, be an activity for the next commission in addressing. >> you care or to elaborate on that last category of things you want to undo? what would be your top priority -- >> guest: well, i think you can read my dissents in a bunch of different areas. a lot of them do flow from a common theme of the current
chair pushing forward an agenda with the majority and not seeking our input, you know, pushing, you know, i would say, you know, an agenda that is not necessarily in the mainstream or sustainable long term. it's not built for collegiality n my opinion. >> host: so revoke title ii? >> guest: oh, i think it should never have been adopted in the first place. i think it's harmful policy. i would go further than that. i think that net neutrality needs to be explored in a broader sense. i have problems with some of the concepts that are contained within the decisions that then get codified under title ii, in terms of the commission's rules. i think that will be a priority, but again, this flows from the next chairperson and whatever agenda they choose. >> host: so what are some of the problems you have with the net neutrality principles? >> guest: well, i start with the most basic and fundamental. i think we talked about this last time i was here, there were
no demonstrable problems that existed in the marketplace that we were trying to address. there were, this is all, you know, prophylactic attempts to address things. the court acknowledged such. we're guess what the marketplace is going to do and trying to prohibit activities that we think are problematic, and in doing so, we're stopping behavior or practices that may be beneficial to consumers. i'll give you one example. that's in the paid priority ization universe. we have no instances of it actually being in place, and it may be necessary for a number of different activities that would be beneficial to consumers. think of remote surgery. you're going to want to have a very consistent, you know, signal, network speed on remote surgery go ahead of and prioritize things like e-mail or certain video. and that's how the internet, the internet is prioritized today. that's not how it functions today, and it never has operated that way. i think there are some
fundamental disagreements over the policies that have been adopted, and i certainly disagree with title ii. >> in terms of paid prioritization, would you support any type of regulation in that area? >> guest: well, i start, you know, as i said, i want to actually see demonstrable harm, i want to see a market failure. but to the extent, you know, i think the job of the commission is to understand what's happening in the marketplace, follow closely what's developing and then make a determination. we tried to presuppose what would happen, we've done this in a number of different areas, and and sometimes those rules are still on the books, and that's very harmful because our decisions impact what companies do and, therefore, more importantly, impact what consumers, the services and products that they get to see anden joy. and enjoy. >> one of the other areas that's related to all of this is the zero rating. and you've expressed some concerns that the fcc here at the last moment under the current leadership is trying to do something. you want to lay out where you see things at this point and
what your concerns and hopes are? >> guest: two parts, and one is the process issue. i was following up on this very early on when the commission started to consider the matter. we asked to be part of the team that was looking into the zero rating issue. we were denied and told that the bureau was looking at this issue, and every month or two i would follow up and say what's the latest, what's the latest. nothing new to report, we would get back the information, for many, many months. surprisingly, the day after the election springs a letter from the commission and the bureau regarding questions of certain activities of certain companies followed up by another letter a week and a half later, same thing. so on process part, i think the commission's completely fallen down on the job on that side of the equation. on the substance of the matter, i have real concerns about trying to limit zero rating until we know exactly what's put before it. if you looked at what is operating in the marketplace today, consumers are enjoying the benefits of certain products
and features and functions offered by wireless providers, and this can go into the wired space, but it's mostly on the wired list pseudothat people see as -- side that people see as more troubling. i don't want to cut off consumers from beneficial services, i want to understand before we make prohibitive activities that the commission seems to be making a leap for. and if you read their letters particularly, you'll see it's quite contentious in terms of the the adversarial role they have taken. >> host: you also spoke about the need for internal reform. what are some of the reforms you would like to see happen? >> guest: so i've butt forward 25 -- put forward 25 ideas and have made the message when i, you know, testified before congress and any speech that i give that i'd like to believe that if i i ever were in the majority, i would push that they be adopted as well. perhaps i'm going to get that opportunity, and i will advocate those changes be made, and it's not a republican or democrat or majority or minority approach,
because i never was intending to limit the authority or the power of the chairman in any way. i think these are structural improvements. and one i think is key. like i said, there's probably 22 left. i think we've adopted three. the other ones haven't made the cut yet and will probably have to be reconsidered next year. but one i think is critical is the public release of the documents we are going to consider at our open meeting. we, commissioners, get the items three weeks in advance, and i believe that's the appropriate time when the document should be made available publicly so everyone can comment on exactly what we're talking about and what's being considered and voted on. often times i meet with outside parties, ex parte meetings are held, and people critique the item that we're supposed to consider, and their information's completely wrong because they don't -- they haven't been either briefed in properly or get misinformation, and so we're completely operating on different set of facts. we get the same thing from e-mails that are received from the outside parties. they're just inaccurate because
people don't know what is baseline for the discussion. so i believe we need to improve that, and making the document available makes a ton of sense. we saw this in the set-top box debate. commission was considering rules in this area, and in doing so you saw a number of people from capitol hill on both sides of the aisle raise the need to make those draft rules available so people could, you know, before we made final decisions, people could understand what was being debated and actually make a critique of the is situation at hand. >> host: what about combining, eliminating some of the different bureaus? >> guest: so i think that definitely is -- when i mentioned process and reorganization, i think that's on, that should be on the table. our structure today is based on an old market and, you know, structure that doesn't exist in this universe. the lines are incredibly blurring, and i think that the commission needs to adopt and change as well. so i'd like to believe that's going to be part of the
consideration next year. >> congressional republicans have also expressed a lot of interest in reversing the title ii order and also addressing net neutrality in some way. do you think the fcc should, once you all are in the majority and have the helm, should move ahead and do what all you can do, or do you wait and see what they're doing up on the hill first? >> guest: i don't pretend to tell or give my advice unless welcomed to my congressional friends and former employers in some instances. but i think the commission can move forward, like i said, undo policies that i think were wrongly imposed. if congress were to act in this space, i would be supportive of that and have been supportoff in the past -- supportive in the past. that congress provides a clear path, whatever decisions they make, and they will implement the law they enact. in the meantime, i think we need to take some things off the books, and that being one of them. >> what about privacy? you also passed --
>> i think privacy flows from the net neutrality decision. the chairman made the argument the only reason we were doing privacy was now we had this mandate under net neutrality. i think one flows from the other, and i think there is, you know, a very active and appropriate agency that's been reviewing privacy for a of -- for a number of years, the ftc, federal trade commission. they've done a fairly good job in most people's analysis, and i didn't support the activities the commission did on broadband privacy. i think it was splitting off one portion of privacy and treating it different than the rest. so i imagine that would, you know, be part of the examination for the next commission. >> host: has the trump transition team been through the fcc and met with you? >> guest: i think they're getting up to speed. i want to be careful in terms of my comments about their activities. but i'm sure they'll be more active as the season goes on. obviously, a lot of decisions are being made and all those things, and we'll be appropriately at a place for them to make some decisions for
the president-elect and his team to make final decisions. >> host: now, two with of the folks that are working on the transition for president-elect trump include mark jamison and jeffize knock. have you met with them? >> guest: i know jeff from past experiences on capitol hill and past lees so have interacted with hum. not as much so with mr. jamison or dr.. >>, and i know there's a third person, rosalynn, that's part of the team. i've worked with her and participated in panels with her. i think they're very thoughtful and active commenters on the communications policy space, and so i look forward to working with them and helping them in whatever they would like to do. >> host: well, the question has been raised a little bit, at least maybe even just by the media, but is there a need for an fcc anymore? does it serve a purpose? >> guest: i think, you know, i testified on this in the past. there have been folks that would like to eliminate the commission as a whole. i do think there are functions
that are important to the commission. first and foremost is how to you handle spectrum, how to you manage the commercial spectrum side of the equation with, how to you deal with licensing and those features and functions. now, whether it means at the fcc or something else in a reinvigorated fcc or something else is still to be, you know, those are open questions for anyone to consider. so i have supported the need for an fcc, but what it looks like, i think i'm open to considering all different changes maybe put manufacture me. >> one thing that, one of the things that's going to affect how fast you all can undo some of the things that the democrats did at the fcc is whether you have a majority. and with commissioner rosenworcel stepping down, there's still two current fcc democratic commissioners. do you have any insights, thoughts or unscientific wild guesses as to what chairman tom wheeler will do come january 30th? or should, or what he should do? >> guest: you know, the nomination process and the
confirmation process done by, you know, the u.s. senate. a number of good friends there and former employers. they have their process. i leave it to them on how that shakes out. but to your point, you know, tom has always surprised me over the years. we've disagreed, though, you know, in a very thoughtful way i like to believe. i don't have any clue what he may or may not do. traditionally, the chairperson has resigned at the instance of a new commission, so i wouldn't be surprised if that were the case. but tom's always run things different, a different way. that's kind of, you know, some of the problems that we've had. >> other than the zero rating thing we already talked about, do you have any other areas of concern where the fcc democratic majority might try to push something through at the last minute? >> guest: so we're actively trying to find those items that can be adopted that are noncontroversial. we have some items in two days we'll have a meeting, and that'll be our last under this administration. so we're trying to work through
the items that chairman wheeler has put forward and seeing what may be doable and what is not, not appropriate at the current time. i'm not at liberty to discuss our internal negotiations, but, you know, i imagine there are some things we can still do this year whether they be at the open meeting or on circulation. we'll just have to see how accommodating everybody is. >> commissioner o'rielly, what do you think tom wheeler's legacy is going to be? >> guest: you know, i think it's, that's an open question. i think, you know, his legacy is partly tied to decisions that he made and the process that he ran. though he and i have a very friendly relationship personally, we disagreed on both the process and the outcome, and i imagine we're going to get a chance to review some of the outcome side and hopefully improve the process. so, you know, i'm troubled that after many years, i've been there three years, he'll have been there three years, that some of the legacy, you know, in
terms of the policy adopted and the activities he's done will no longer be in existence, and i think that's a host opportunity for the commission. they could have, you know, there are things that can be adopted on a bipartisan, collegial way that can sustain the test of time, and i just don't see that occurred. and so it's harder to announce what i think his legacy -- it may be, the legacy may be even how to, how to -- how do i say this delicately, how to improve commission functions so we don't do that again. >> what do you think of president-elect trump? >> guest: so he is a republican and my nominee, you know, nominee for my party and won in a very convincing way, very -- i give him all the credit in the world for the campaign that they ran. i share a lot of views on policy. one i really appreciate that he's put forward, and he's put forward a number of them, and that is to eliminate two regulations for every one adopted.
now, that seems very simplistic. some people may say, oh, that's kind of trite. but actually if you look at the commission and how it operates today, we'd have a much smaller code, and weld get to -- we would get so some of the regulatory ununderbrush. so everyone month we're adopting, you know, give or twain three items that had new regulatory birds on providers, use withers, activities, and if we had to strike two regulations to do so -- which can be done, we have a lot of regulations that can go -- we'd have a much more effective and efficient agency and more opportunity for providers to serve consumers. >> host: what's your view of the new energy and commerce committee chair, representative greg walden? >> guest: oh, so that's an institution that i love. it's where i had my first employment. i think, you know, chairman walden, i've worked with in the past in his capacity as u.n. committee chair. as subcommittee chair, the
committee, excuse me, and the congress had, you know, a wonderful number of people to pick from, selecting chairman walden is a great outcome for everybody. i imagine we're going to have to a lot of activity in the communications space given that his past subcommittee. >> host: media ownership is another issue that the commission faces from time to time. do you see that popping up in 2017? >> guest: ing i do, and it's partly to the question that david asked. it gets to one of those instances where it's a lost opportunity. it is one of those instances where we had a statutory obligation, and i think that we dropped the ball. and in doing so, my views, commissioner pai's views were ignored. we had an opportunity to improve, for instance, just media ownership, cross-ownership or limitations that existed from the johnson and nixon administration. and in those instances we had the opportunity to eliminate them. current chairman said he was
willing to do so, we had another signal from another commissioner that they were willing to do so, but the policy is put forward that only if all three current majority commissioners supported it could it be adopted and, obviously, one objected, so the policy was not changed. i'd like to believe that we can change it. i think we can do it in a thoughtful way while still protecting diversity, competition and public interest. >> host: one more question on net neutrality and title ii. >> guest: sure. >> host: you talked about wanting a more bipartisan commission. how do you revoke title ii and perhaps, you know, initiate new net neutrality principles in a bipartisan -- >> guest: so two parts. one, it definitely flows from whoever's chairperson and the agenda they choose. but if this is a course of action that is selected, i suspect, you know, i wouldn't be surprised at some, you know, the new minority will have trouble in some of the activities that we're doing. but at the same time, i think we
can build a better process going forward on other items that we move. i think you can, you know, there's only so much agreement we're going to have on net neutrality. it's a different can, you know, standard we've thought about for a long time, and i think there's an opportunity in longstanding place, and that's why i look to the congress as well to consider what they would like to do. there's been bipartisan negotiations on this issue. i think the congress has been active in trying to find agreement, but, you know, i understand if it's, if there's, you know, some tough i couple months ahead in undoing some policies that oh people have -- other people have strong views on. at the same time, remove regulatory underbrush, i think we can find commonality and build a commission going forward. >> one of the areas that president-elect trump did talk about during the campaign that affects you all is the a, the can, the/time warner deal -- at&t/time warner deal.
do you have any comments? >> guest: i never make any comments regarding pending or proposed mergers. i just think it's in the best interests since i potentially are to make a decision in cases that are put before me. here i will actively review whatever's put before us, and i'll have to make an appropriate decision at the time. >> yeah. there's a lot of concern about cybersecurity, and it's getting a lot of attention with what happened in the last few months during the campaign. does the fcc have a role in that? and what is it? >> guest: sure. i think it's a very important issue and one that congress has been very aggressive on in trying to find the right solutions. i think orr agencies are as well doing so. the fcc's role is relatively limited by the statute that governs us, the communications act of 1934. and while i do believe the government has a role to monitor and potentially provide additional fixes in this space, they aren't authorized by the
law for us to do. so i've been troubled by this. and the solution, in my opinion, is not to just do what we think is best interest, notwithstanding the law, the appropriate action is to go to congress and say we believe we can have a beneficial impact on this issue if that's the case and present an argument to the congress and let them make a decision representing the american people on whether they would like to authorize the commission to do something. until that happens, i'm reluctant to take action in this space. now, in fairness, the entities that we generally regulate today are doing a wonderful job in protecting their networks. it's in their best interest because they're seeking to provide the best experience to consumers. so they're working as hard as possible to prevent any types of intrusions or instances to cybersecurity problematic circumstances for their networks. and they're probably in a better position than the fcc could ever be or other agencies in terms of what they might be able to solve. >> host: commissioner o'rielly, in the two minutes we have left,
what about an update on the incentive auctions that have been going on for nine months? we haven't heard much about they want. can you give us anything? >> guest: it's not for lack of interest to your good question, i actually don't know anything. they don't share any information, so what you see on the fcc web site is the same information i have. we're not provided any particular information on how or what's happening, who's participating. i think some of that's for our own protection. not knowing prevents us from moving markets. if someone were to comment about who's bidding or not bidding. other parts i think, you know, they just don't share that stuff with the not, with the nonchairman. so i think that's probably problematic and you can improve that, but i don't have anything to share. i think the incentive auction, you know, will take -- do its due course, and we'll have to see what the outcome is. >> host: is this an end date? >> guest: well, arguably there is. there's so many stages, it's set
up, and if you do the calendar out, you can pick out what the end -- figure out what the end date is. we didn't have to start when we started, but i'd like to believe that notwithstanding some of the decisions which i disagree that went into the formation of our snuff auction, i'd like to believe -- i'm rooting for a successful auction because i think it is onefect i way to deal with the need for spectrum while also addressing incumbents that occupy the space. how do you address that. i worked on the statute underlying the commission's activities when it's an adviser to members in the senate at the time. and so i think it's something that, hopefully, will be success. i couldn't tell you or guess where that end point will be. we'll get the market take it where it's going to go. >> host: final question from david kaut. >> the fcc democrats were interested in -- do you think the republicans should take that up, and if so, what should you all do? >> guest: you know, in some regards this is a long debate
that's been happening for over a decade, probably closer to 15 years, and i was, you know, in my previous role i had an opportunity to examine this issue. i'm not so sure that the market hasn't passed it by. the developments in this space have been pretty important, the commission had ignored some of those in a draft version that was well talked about, and moving to final rules it was making a complete 180 than it previously had considered, and that's, you know, part of the reason for process reform is that we were making these changes no one knew about. i'm suspect that the commission should take activity here, but i'm open to good arguments, and i keep an open mind on every issue that's put before me. >> host: michael o'rielly is republican commissioner on the federal communications commission, david kaut is senior reporter with communications daily. >> c-span, where history unfolds daily. in 1979, c-span was created as a
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>> to be able to meet those threats. >> we are living at that. where there are a lot of flashpoints. the new administration is going to have to look at that kind of world, and, obviously, define policy that we need in order to deal with that. but then develop the defense policy to confront that kind of world. >> thursday a look at the group vice president elect mike pence. >> amidst the shifting sands of contemporary culture and law we have stood without apology for the sanctity of life, the importance of marriage and the freedom of religion.
[applause] >> friday night farewell speeches and tributes to several outgoing senators including harry reid, barbara boxer, kelly ayotte, and dan coats. this week in prime time on c-span. >> sunday january 1, in depth will feature live discussion on the presidency of barack obama we are taking phone calls, tweets emails and facebook questions during the program. the panel includes a variety -- april ryan. princeton university professor, author of democracy and black, , how race still enslaves the american soul and pulitzer prize-winning journalist david marinus. watch live from noon to 3 p.m.