Required reading


FCC Commissioner Michael Powell's partial dissent to the annual biennial review of FCC rules should be required reading for those still arguing for preserving buggy-whip regulations in a jet age. Although the full text, released last week, is available online (at under Biennial Review Report), complete with a rather attenuated Lone Ranger metaphor that perhaps should have been headed off at the pass, we have elected to print the statement's conclusion on this page.

"I do not believe that the Commission has justified its decision that the 35% audience reach cap, the newspaper/broadcast cross-ownership rule or the cable/broadcast cross-ownership rule continue to serve the public interest as a result of competition as Section 202(h) requires. With respect to each of these rules, I would have supported further proceedings to more thoroughly evaluate the pervasive changes that have occurred in the video marketplace, and whether these rules continue to achieve the goals for which they were intended..This Commission must look forward if it is to foster, and not stand in the way of, the digital revolution that is occurring across all of the communications industries."

Since the current biennial review was actually for 1998, the 2000 review should be up and humming any day now. There's no time like the present to "more thoroughly evaluate" the rules, this time with an eye toward the future and the real world.