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FCC’s Powell Is Praised By Various Industries

Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) chairman Michael Powell submitted his resignation late last month, ending a four-year run as chairman during which he worked to implement digital television and boost wireless communications.

Several days after Powell submitted his formal resignation FCC media bureau chief Kenneth Ferree, who had been hired by Powell, announced he would leave his post in early March, for undisclosed reasons. At press time no replacement had been named.

Ferree was known for a proposal, which would count current digital cable and satellite homes toward the 85 percent DTV household threshold needed to complete the DTV transition and end analog television broadcasting.

Powell, son of Secretary of State Colin Powell, joined the FCC in 1998 and was appointed chairman three years later by President George W. Bush. He will leave office in March. A successor has not been named.

“During my tenure, we worked to get the law right in order to stimulate innovative technology that puts more power in the hands of the American people, giving them greater choices that enrich their lives. Evidence of our success can be seen increasingly in the offices, the automobiles and the living rooms of the American consumer,” Powell said in a written statement.

Commentary on Powell’s tenure from the CE industry was positive.

“We are saddened by today’s news that FCC chairman Powell is resigning. Throughout his term, Chairman Powell has been a true friend of technology. He ‘got it,’ “said Gary Shapiro, CEA’s president/CEO, “Even when we have differed on policy, I have always recognized and respected the chairman’s passion for technology and his desire to bring its power and wonder to all citizens of our nation.

Shapiro went on to say that Powell would be missed at the 2006 International CES.

“Personally, I will miss our annual ‘one-on-one’ discussions at the International CES and his joy as he discovered a cool new product on the show floor,” Shapiro said.

Steve Largent, president/CEO of CTIA-The Wireless Association, said Powell’s appreciation for technology was a boon for the average person. “Consumers were always Michael’s top priority, and he knew instinctively that they were best served when free and competitive markets were permitted to function. Michael’s obvious and contagious passion for new technology is rooted in his belief that all consumers should have the ability to access innovative telecommunications services. This passion, combined with his commitment to a forward-thinking, commonsense regulatory framework, has marked his successful tenure.”

Roberts Sachs, president/CEO of the National Cable & Telecommunications Association, who is departing his job too, said Powell will be sorely missed.

“Michael Powell has been a truly outstanding FCC chairman and a true champion of competitive market forces. Whether jump starting the digital TV transition or creating a regulatory environment that has allowed broadband Internet services to flourish, Michael Powell has been a major force in bringing the benefits of new technology to the American people,” he said.

The Satellite Broadcasting and Communications Association (SBCA) called Powell’s leadership steadfast.

“It has been a pleasure working with Chairman Powell and his staff for the past eight years. Chairman Powell has great dedication and passion for communications and telecommunications technologies, and under his steadfast direction these technologies have advanced greatly and benefited the American public,” said Richard DalBello, SBCA’s president.