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Chmn. Wheeler's e-book

A e-mail today from Gigi Sohn in the FCC’s Chairman’s office announced a new first: an e-book by the Chairman!

Net Effects: The Past, Present & Future Impact of Our Networks was released along with a related speech delivered yesterday at his alma mater, The Ohio State University. Net Effects is also available as a free eBook on Kindle and Scribd. The eBook comes out of research the Chairman began compiling while he was awaiting Senate confirmation. Ms. Sohn adds,

Net Effects looks at the history of three network revolutions – the printing press, the railroad, and the telegraph and telephony – and how the fourth network revolution – digital communications – will be informed by those experiences. It was this process that led the Chairman to develop what he calls the three “prisms” for looking at communications policy: ensuring that our networks promote economic growth; preserving the fundamental values that have been the foundation of our communications; and enabling the public purpose benefits of our networks. The speech shares many of the same themes as Net Effects.

Near the end of the book is the following discussion:

A similar demand for dispatch should apply to the agency’s regulatory activities. The regulatory processes of the FCC have been criticized by some as being too opaque and cumbersome. At the same time, however, this is the agency that moved expeditiously after being given spectrum auction authority in 1993 and with similar dispatch to meet all the deadlines in the implementation of the 1996 Telecommunications Act. Investigating how the agency can operate quickly and smoothly under the procedural requirements of the Administrative Procedure Act (APA) should be a priority.

One key component of the FCC’s administrative process is to focus like a laser on a fact- based, data-driven process. The goal of the agency’s rulemakings should be to begin with a rebuttable presumption and invite submission for the record of data that either supports or refutes the proposition. It is a simple, yet powerful concept that should be the FCC’s North Star; facts evidenced by supporting data.

I fully agree!

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