Former FCC Chairman Reed Hundt says that next week's unveiling
of the broadband plan will essentially mark the Internet as the nation's new
common medium, supplanting broadcasting and cable.
That is according to a video of a speech at Columbia University, first reported Friday (March
12) by TVNewsCheck and coming only days before the new
national broadband plan is to be unveiled.
FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski has said that the FCC is not
out to force broadcasters off their spectrum, though the plan will include a
proposal to pay broadcasters who want to give up some spectrum for wireless
"While overwhelmingly -- roughly 90% -- of Americans receive their broadcast TV programming in most major markets through cable wires or satellite signals, there are still millions of Americans who receive TV through over-the-air antenna TV," the chairman said in announcing the spectrum reclamation proposal. " Broadcasters would be able to continue to serve their communities with free over-the-air local news, information, and entertainment; and they would be able to experiment [with] mobile TV. "
Hundt, two of whose top staffers during his chairmanship in
the mid-1990's are FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski and broadband plan top
advisor Blair Levin, said that he decided in 1994 that the Internet
should be the common medium of the nation and broadcasting should not be.
He said he did a lot of things between 1994 and 1997 to
bring that about. He said the fundamental decision was to allow computers to
connect to the Internet for free. He said we "stole" the value of the
Internet from the telephone companies and gave it to the public.