FCC chairman wants new technologies and new hires

FCC chairman wants new technologies and new hires

By William Jackson

GCN Staff

JUNE 5—Federal Communications Commission chairman Michael Powell today promised a more tech-savvy FCC that will encourage emerging communications technologies such as broadband access.

Powell, appointed chairman by President Bush in January, gave a keynote address at the SuperComm conference in Atlanta. He said the commission 'has to become fluent in technology' and adjust its competition policy to promote investment in new infrastructure. His comments implied a loosening of restrictions on established telecommunications companies in the broadband marketplace.

Edward E. Whitacre Jr., chairman of SBC Communications Inc., a carrier in the southwestern states, complained in an earlier talk at SuperComm that misplaced regulatory focus is hobbling telecom companies while cable companies go unregulated.

Powell defended his agency's focus. 'A commitment to markets in a time of experimentation is not a bow to big business,' he said.

Noting that 40 percent of the commission's engineering staff is eligible for retirement within four years, Powell announced a program to recruit engineers and technologists.

'Anyone looking for a job, call us,' he said. 'We're hunting aggressively.'

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