tv [untitled] CSPAN June 17, 2009 1:00am-1:30am EDT
had over the last 75 years, extending communications infrastructure and the benefits of communications to all americans. i defer to your knowledge of alaska. there has been success in universal service in alaska historical a. i like to see that continue to the future. >> fantastic. it has been very successful and very useful. the tribal lands of the alaska people in corporate travel plans which is different from reservation lands. we have to continue to point that out. as you have an opportunity, i know you said yes. i am looking forward to you coming to alaska. i want to echo that. it would give you a chance to see the value of that program.
let me also point out, in alaska the issue of broadband. we have some concerns by satellite providers. currently their concerns were excluded from the . equation, how do you see that and will you -- in the broadband plan, keep that all in consideration? in alaska, satellites are used to get a more costly connection that may not be able to be done by land. >> that's not an issue i'm very familiar with. i'm glad you raised it and i would like to make sure i have a chance to work with you on it and make sure it gets the attention that it deserves in the fcc's workings on the national broadband plan. >> excellent. i can tell you they're very concerned just because again, the vast distances, the uniqueness of the lack of access to the infrastructure satellites become part of the equation
after how we deliver broad bapd. the good news is 70 plus percent, weert highest connected state in the country. it's unusual in its own way because of this relationship we have with satellite as well as on the ground. let me, if i can, and i know you're a big, big supporter of e-rate. and again, for us, it's more of a statement just for the record as our discussion occurred privately, and that's the importance of e-rate and how we deliver when we have no child left behind act that says you must have a certain type of teach we are a certain credentials teaching kids at certain levels. and some cool skools, we may only have 10, 15 people. and to have all that specialty is impossible. so e-rate and our education capacity of telecommunications is powerful. we can go from one hub and teach in 30 different villages at the same time. i just want to reemphasize the importance of that, but also
hear your support on the record. >> yes. i was privileged to see the early days, it's a great accomplishment and it's -- thinking about broadband going forward and the opportunity it creates for all americans, education is a great example, a way to give children everywhere access to the best information, the best teachers to allow children in rurlt areas to have the same opportunities as children to live close to universiti universities. i'm very excited about the opportunities for education and broadband and the next generation of e-rate. >> very good. my time has expired. thank you. i think you're going to be an incredible chair.
mr. mcdowell, your reappointment is going to be a plus. i know you've ben a big proponent of alaska issues. you've seen it, you've been there. we'll work on the chairman together and give him that great experience of alaska. not the fish, the telecommunications. but again, thank you both and i look forward to working with you on alaska specific. thank you. >> thank you. before i call on senator can cantwell, i have to make a committee announcement. i am not pleased by the way that -- this was my fault so i take full responsibility for it, that people made their statements then left. some happily came back. and for that i applause them. but it is wrong -- i mean, this is a mammothly important hears
for a nomination and a vote to follow. we cannot have it that people come in and make their opening statements, get into their opening statements the questions they're going to ask anyway and then having done so leave. this is an embarrassment to you, it's an embarrassment to me, it's an embarrassment to the united states senate and to this committee. soo from now on, there may be very rare occasions, but we will not have opening statements except fra the chairman and the ranking member and then we will go directly to the witness. and that will be the order. i now call on senator cantwell. >> mr. chairman, will that be the janikowski rule? i thank the chairman and i agree. i'm hear to ask questions in
person and i think it is an important hearing so thank you for your statement. mr. genakowski, the diversity of media, i don't know if any of my colleagues have asked about that so far but i've supported technical changes required to expand the number of low-powered fm stations. and these are important because they develop local content and they are important to the very community interests. i certainly opposed media consolidation, particularly that with the cross ownership and i don't think it's the way we're going to save newspapers. i think there is an important role for police education and government. the peg channels. and their service. and peg channels provide an outlet for people and communities to create and distribute their own television programming. but i'm concerned if the -- i know you are working on a rule making. but if the translators get priority and fill all the
available frequencies, even if congress were to allow low-powered operations to operate, it wouldn't be meaningful. so i'd like to understand what you think we can do to make sure that we are keeping that diversity of voices and having low-powered stations. >> senator, yes, we -- we spoke about this a little bit about the -- why dissemination of spectrum licenses, diversity of ownership is, i think, in the communications act. it's an important principle and priority and it's something i look forward to working on. the issue that you mentioned, i think, are examples of there are creative ways to tackle these issues that constantly need to be looked for. i think your leadership on the lpfm issue is an example of that. i'm not an expert in that. i look forward to learning more about that.
but making sure in connection with overstanding uses of our spectrum looking for ways to put more spectrum to work, to think about why dissemination of licenses in connection with that all seem to me to be high priorities and something i look forward to working with you and the committee on. >> okay. another area is opening up broadcast wide dspaces. the commission took a conservative response in opening up the wide space, but it was a start. will the office of engineering technology make sure that this is a priority issue so that we can have sufficient resources in work with the industry to test and make sure that we are answering any of the technical issues that might come up? >> senator, i think the answer is yes. i'm glad you are mentioning another example of creative use of spectrum to advance the overall goals of the
communications act. i am energized by what's been happening in the country around mobile. we're seeing incredible innovation. the number of americans who have mobile phones has increased dramatically. i think the current number is about 270 million americans. but more important, the number of americans who have smart phones, who have mobile phones with advanced applications on them is increasing. i believe that we have an opportunity for the u.s. to lead the world in mobile. some of that will require the ongoing creativity and the ideas of the sorts that you mentioned to take full advantage in this country of the opportunity that spectrum use allows. >> okay. >> and question about, obviously, competitive markets for broad band service. is there -- if there is a competitive market for broadbann band service where consumers
could purchase it from multiple independent providers, would the discussion over net neutrality change? >> well, i think that the -- in a market of unlimited competition, it might change. the goal, as i see it, of the net neutrality debate is to preserve the internet as the greatest platform for innovation and small business creation that we've ever had. more competition, more consumer choice would, of course, help achieve that and that would be an excellent thing. >> but, obviously, not -- i mean, the concern is not to artificially segment off parts of the population and giving them a higher cost. so you see more competition in broadband services? >> competition is clearly a goal for the fcc, the communications act and something i would hope to pursue and promote at the fcc. >> thank you, mr. chairman. >> thank you.
are there any other questions? >> i do. i wanted to ask one last question. we talked in my office about the so-called fairness doctrine. and as i understood it, you said you do not support reviving it or policies like it directly or indirectly through localism and that sort of thing. and i just wanted to have, for the record, that i am correct in stating your position or if you would like to restate it. >> senator, i don't support reinstatement of the fairness doctrine. i believe strongly in the first amendment. i don't thing fcc should be involved in censorship of content based on political speech or opinion. >> thank you very much. thank you, mr. chairman. >> senator? >> thank you, mr. chairman. mr. genowchowski. i just -- i don't want to spend
much time on that because i have some other questions. but i just want to get your commitment that you are willing to work with us on this. just estimates again, 90% of broadband instillation is digging up the roads. if we can do it at the same time we have an open road because the federal highway projects, we could save a lot of money. >> yeah, senator, i'd love for the fcc to be a resource for you and senator warner in this idea and others. we're thinking about the communications infrastructure for the country, for, you know, for the next several decades. and some of it is a real infrastructure issue. and if we can be -- deliver the best bang for the bucks for taxpayers by laying broadband lines at the same time we're building highways, i don't see why we wouldn't want to explore that. >> another quick area, just the e 911 area. i'm the co-chair of the caucus. i'm a former prosecutor. i did that for eight years and saw firsthand some of these interoperablity issues. the good when we had our bridge
collapse in our area, right in the metropolitan area had done a nice job of interopera bility because of our sheriff and others and i've seen difficulties in our rural areas because of that. it seems that's one of the areas of our nation's information infrastructure that may continue to elude us, absent some federal action and federal investment in terms of making our emergency services more interoperable. is it interable? that's a trick question. interoperable. do you think that's something you would be willing to work on? >> very much so. my wife and i were not very far from the world trade center on 9/11. most of my family was in either new york or washington. none of us should be satisfied with where we are on public safety. leaders on this as one of your colleagues mentioned earlier, the 9/11 commission urged the
country to do something about public safety interoperablity and we have to do it. it's just not acceptable that firefighters and police officers arrive at the scene o we have a new opportunity that we need to seize aquickly as possible around mobile broadband now that we're through the digital television, there is spectrum available for spransed mobile public safety applications for our first responders. i don't think we can move too quickly in tackling that. and i look forward to working with you. >> we had a horribling of a -- horrible shooting o a police officer. literally we had seven different forms of communication while they were sur suing this suspect. it was -- pursuing this suspect. i just came to a meeting in
wireless market and senator rockefeller have a bill that we will most likely introduce this year about cell phone competition. in my view, this is has come a long way from the move in wall street and gordon decko had a cell phone the size of a briefcase. while there has been early termination fees, each problems with dropped calls and consumer knowledge about what they're buying and if it really works in the areas that they want to drive to or work in. so could you comment about the f.c.c.'s role as a watchdog in this area? >> senator, i look forward to working with you on this. forward to working with you on this. i am an optimist, a believer in the potential of mobile for our country, for the u.s. to have world leadership and mobile. at the same time, we need to
make sure, one, and the fcc can work with you and the committee on doing this, that we minimize confusion, that we maximize competition and choice and that we do everything we can to deal with complaints that consumers have and respond to them effectively. >> thank you. >> you know, the complaint right now and this is why we had this hearing is just concerns about some of the prices right now. fcc website, you and i talked about this and how it used to be this model of development and innovation and now it's lagging behind. you want to talk briefly about what you'd like to do with that? >> senator, if confirmed, my goal would to be have the fcc website and its new media operation be a model for the rest of the government. the fcc should have that. it should be a 21st century agency for the information age. i've been around this area enough to know that i won't be able to snap my fingers on day one if i'm confirmed and make it happen. it will take some time.
but the opportunities are great to have all of the various constituencies and stakeholders interested in the fcc. ordinary consumers, businesses, academics around the country, others, be able to get online to get information easily to have it be searchable and accessible. this is all achievable. i'd like to see the fcc achieve it and i'd like to see the fcc be able to use new media to communicate clearly and in plain english with the public about what it's doing. >> thank you. now, of course, the question i really want to ask when senator schumer was here and we could pretend you were under oath. we could do this whole thing when he said the credit card box that he really it should have been the genachowsdi box intend of the schumer box. i wondered if he really offered you that. but i chose not to do that because you had such a nice and positive hearing, we won't end that way.
thanks, mr. gechowski. >> thank you. anybody else have any other questions? thank you very, very much for your time here today and for making yourself available. and i know you visited with many of us if not all of us privately in our offices, and we appreciate that. and i also think something that others have alluded to is very true and that is this agency is extremely important and will really benefit from your leadership and your management style there. and i just think it's going to be a great era for the fcc. so thank you for your public service, and if there are no more questions, we'll excuse you and your family. if you would like to stay, you can. if you'd like to leave, that's completely up to you. i will say one last thing before you leave is that we are asking all the senators who have
follow-up questions to get those to you or get those to us by 6:00 p.m. today. and that's a good sign for you because that means we're going to try to expedite your confirmation as much as possible. but thank you very much for your time and i'm going to call up the second panel, if the committee doesn't have anything else. thank you very much. >> thank you. >> as he is departing, the table there and as mr. mcdowell is coming forward with his family, there's going to be a little bit of a change here. so we'll give everybody just a minute.
>> commissioner mcdowell, once again, welcome to the committee. i want to thank you for your past and current public service. and i must say that i hear very, very positive reviews on the things you've done there at the f.c.c. and i think you've been a very positive force there. and i know that you have your family here. looks like we have members of the phillies organization here. and if you want to introduce your family and make your opening statement that would be great. >> i'd love to. thank you, senator pryor and hutchinson. it's a great honor to accept the president's nomination. with your permission, i would like to introduce members of my family. first o all, without their love and support, i couldn't do this job.
it is they who support the brunt of supporting an f.c.c. commissioner. so my love of my life, the wind in my sails is my wife jennifer. and also my wife griffin who is suited up to play in the beginning of the vienna little league town championship, their tournament. so he's been hitting in the .700's all season. applause is welcome. he pitched a no-hitter. and as you can imagine his coach is very eager to have him time tonight for the start of the championship. he came in suited up. he will leave shortly after my opening statement. my beautiful daughter mary shae. our youngest son cormic who calls himself coco. my sister, and my nephew
clewiston. and my brother-in-law donny motes. >> sh and of course i oh everything to my parents. my father passed a way this february. our thoughts and prayers are with them but, especially today. i would also like to extend my public congratulations to senator againachowski. and if we are both confirmed, i look forward to working with him in the same manner i pursued in the past years. years. furthermore, i want to acknowledge the warm friendship and support i've received from acting chairman mike kopps and commissioner jonathan addlestein. i've enjoyed work with them and especially in the past six months. although we don't always agree, our disagreements are almost
always pleasant. in fact, while the three of us have enjoyed this collegial time at the commission this year, folks have started calling us the three amigos. if confirmed, i look forward to continuing to work with mike at the commission and jonathan just down the street at the rural utility service, should he be confirmed for that post. while i'm on the topic of us working together, i'd be remiss if i did not discuss with this committee the digital television transition. as of midnight last friday, 100% of our nation's full power television stations are broadcasting only in digital. except for a few analog night light stations providing educational information for those still not ready and we have heard of three or four that are having a little bit of trouble making the transition. but for the vast majority of consumers, the benefits are wonderful and include better picture quality, better sound quality and more channels, all for free over the air. nonetheless, up to 3 million households remained unprepared
as of june 12th. the fcc working with other government agencies, the private sector and community organizations is acting rapidly to locate and help these consumers in our own version of a search and rescue operation. i appreciate the continued support we have received from congress as we implement the switch to digital, and i look forward to our agency staying folkused on this issue as our number one priority until all over the air consumers become digital ready. in preparation for this hearing over the past few days, i've been reflecting on my three years at the fcc. the fact i was appointed to the commission the first time underscores the maxim that sometimes it is life's surprises that offer the best experiences. this position came as a surprise to me. i never pursued this office, but the opportunity to serve the american people in this way has been the highest honor of my life. what we do at the commission literally affects the lives and
liberty of all americans every day. the evolution of the communications marketplace has been nothing short of amazing. especially in the past three years. for instance in 2006, the discussion regarding a wireless only america was just getting started. today, nearly 1 in 5 american households is wireless only. in the meantime, 23% of all businesses are expected to be wireless only by the year 2012. in 2006, 57 million americans subscribe to broadband services. today, fe the number is closer to $80 million. a 40% increase in three years. the fastest growing segment of the broadband market is wireless broadband, which has grown by nearly 400% since 2006. in fact, american consumers account for nearly 30% of all mobile web surfing worldwide
making the u.s. first in the world. many analysts predict internet traffic could quadruple by 2011 and mobileless wireless technology will account for a large share of that growth. three years ago, social networking sites such as facebook, myspace and twitter were in their infancy while traditional media such as newspapers and broadcasters enjoyed healthy bottom lines. when i first started at the fcc, the market for online videos was just starting to germinate. today, americans watch nearly $17 billion online videos each month. and that figure is growing at 16% per month. furthermore, nearly 15 million americans are watching video on their mobile devices and that figure is growing by more than 50% per year. at the same time, traditional media have witnessed a dramatic decline in the face of the competitive pressures coming
from new media. so much has changed so fast. increasingly, america's economy rides on the rails of the communication sector. as the government contemplates policies to help promote sustainable economic growth, the role of the fcc is more important now than ever. in the coming months, the commission's primary focus should be to foster economic expansion by helping shape an environment that is attractive to capital investment so that the creative brilliance of america's entrepreneurs can continue to bear fruit to the benefit of all consumers. during my time at the commission, i've tried to promote economic prosperity, competition and innovation by supporting initiatives to make it easier for new entrants to compete in the video marketplace, spurring the roll-out of broadband by, among other things, taking steps to open up the use of the television white spaces and fighting to ensure that inventors of new wireless
medical devices are not restrained by government red tape. america's technological future could be brilliant if we, as policymakers, make the right choices. the wireless sector is one of the most promising under the fcc's purview. if you look at the wireless market through the lens of the wire -- we all know the name of the inventor of the wireline phone. alexander graham bell, of course. but few can name the inventor of the wireless phone. a device used by more than half of the world's population. his name is martin cooper. mr. cooper estimates that the technological innovation has enabled us to double the amount of information transmitted over the spectrum every 2 1/2 years. as a result, we are 2 trillion times more spectrally efficient today than when the radio was first invented in 1997.
this concept is known as cooper's law. this powerful trend should continue indefinitely unless the government adopts policies that frustrate rather than if i am confirmed you have any commitment that will support policies to support freedom, competition, innovation and more choices. if we adopt such policies, we will create boundless opportunities for american consumers and entrepreneurs alike. additionally, i will conduct a fairs of my office in a bipartisan and ethical manner. and i will continue to make decisions as an independent commissioner and an independent agency. further more i will work to support policies that promote vigorous growth in the broadband market to ensure that all americans have the promise of high speed service and to make sure the internet remains
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