FCC Chairman Reed Hundt has announced his resignation from office. Hundt's in good company; FCC Commissioner James Quello has already announced his intent to step down, and Commissioner Andrew Barrett flew the coop in April.
The current Commission has been unmatched in its zeal to sell out the public. It was under Hundt and cohorts that auctions of portions of the spectrum became common practice. While the agency was mandated to adopt the process with the passage of the Telecom Act of 1996, the zeal with which it went ahead with the sales is disturbing.
The auctions have been somewhat controversial, but when the plan brought hundreds of millions of dollars into the government's coffers, the outcry slackened off. Now the winning corporations "own" the rights to broadcast on various areas of the spectrum, and the public loses.
I wouldn't be surprised if Hundt and his friends end up on some of the boards of the telecommunications corporations that purchased portions of the spectrum. Not only would it be fitting, but it would be a validation to pirates everywhere to redouble their efforts to take back what is rightfully theirs.
In Hundt's farewell speech, he says he's leaving to 'spend more time with my family.' Like doing that will bring in the paycheck. Where are you really going, Reed?
A copy of Hundt's resignation statement is here - a few of the most glaring follies are below:
"Given the inevitabilities of
difficulty and debate in all our decisions, it has been clear from the
start that if we didn't hang together, they would certainly hang us separately."
"Government should trust markets,
but verify that they are truly serving the interests of communities, citizens,
children. Where they are not, government should intervene with laser-like
precision to promote public needs."
"We have renewed and reformed
the social contract between broadcasters and the public."
"Our auctions were the first government
auctions of spectrum in United States history, and the largest auctions
of anything in terms of dollars bid. We have held more spectrum auctions
than any country in the world, and have auctioned more licenses to more
businesses for more money by far: Our 14 auctions have assigned more than
4,000 licenses to more than 500 businesses for over $23 billion."
"We put computers and push-button
phones on every desk for the first time in Commission history..."
"We've processed the most license
applications in history faster than ever before. We did this while also
having the biggest reduction in backlog for licenses."