FCC Commissioner Michael Copps plans to tell House Communications Subcommittee members that he sees a chance to work on a bipartisan basis on some key issues: public safety, broadband deployment, privacy, and spectrum policy chief among them, while fellow Democratic Commissioner plans to concentrate on defending network neutrality rules from critics.
That is according to their prepared testimony for a Feb. 16 oversight hearing focusing on the commission's new network neutrality rules. Copps spends much of the testimony defending his position for the regs, and even stronger open Internet rules, But recognizing that he and the Republican majority remain poles apart on that issue, he begins and ends talking about the points of possible common ground.
He signaled in a speech to the Federal Communications Bar Association earlier in the day that he might have more of that common ground with the committee than some might think. His testimony outlines where that real estate is located. "While we won't all agree on how to proceed on every policy front, there are so many challenges confronting us where you and I share common cause," he said.
First, he said, was providing first responders with the communications tools they need. Copps has long pushed for the creation of an interoperable emergency communications network, something Republicans have also pushed for. Another area is spectrum policy, he said. Copps puts in a plug for an FCC spectrum inventory. "This is another area where we must work hand-in-hand-the Congress, the Commission, industry and all stakeholders," he said.
In her testimony, Democrat Mignon Clyburn spends most of her time defending the rules and the need for them. As the daughter of a Congressman, she appears to know the value of personalizing the issue to make it relatable. "I am certain that at least half of the people in this room use the web to view photos, sitcoms, and full-length movies on their personal computers," she says. "The action that we took in December, will allow them to continue doing so, without deliberate interruption, distortion, or blockage by any ISP provider which has competing economic interests."
She also says that DISH, Time Warner Cable, and AT&T, have said publicly that the rules will have "no adverse effect in the communications marketplace."