Survey: Telecom Execs Unaware Of McCain, Obama Policies

A slight majority (50.5%) of communications executives are either unfamiliar or unhappy with the telecommunications policies of the presidential candidates, with the vast majority of those saying they just don't know what the policies are. That's according to a study to be released next week by Pike & Fischer.

According to the survey of 280 executives, engineers and consultants in the cable, satellite and technology sectors, they are "wary about the ability of any of the presidential candidates to develop sound policies on such issues as broadband availability and media ownership."

The survey was conducted in March and April of this year. 

A Pike & Fischer analyst told B&C that 40% of the respondents said the didn't know what the candidates policies were.

Candidates John McCain and Barack Obama have weighed in on various communications issues, including media ownership, cable a la carte and network neutrality, to name a few. It's unusual to have two senators running for president, and with one a former Senate Commerce Committee Chairman and the other from Chicago, a major media and media activist market (it’s home to Operation PUSH), there are an unusual number of communications positions already staked out.

For example, Obama has weighed in strongly against further media consolidation, while John McCain is almost the poster-legislator for cable a la carte and cable-rate criticisms.

McCain has also hammered broadcasters over delays in the DTV transition because it has meant spectrum had still not been turned over to first responders for an improved, interoperable communications network. The senator even alluded to the issue this week in his speech in Katrina-ravaged New Orleans, saying “firemen and policemen should be able to communicate with each other in an emergency.”

The communications executives Pike & Fischer polled may get some insight next week, when former FCC chairmen Michael Powell (Republican) and Reed Hundt (Democrat) are scheduled to handicap the McCain and Obama communications policy agendas June 10 at a Federalist Society event at the National Press Club.