FCC Commissioner Brendan Carr says that "a lot of regulators" are "struggling" with a lack of vision, and suggested that criticism begins at home.
Carr, who was being interviewed for C-SPAN's Communicators series, said that competition authorities, including the FCC, need to be able to pass the Gretzky test (hall of fame hockey player Wayne Gretzky), which is skating to where the puck is going to be (in this case the 5G puck), not where it is now.
He said he was seeing that lack of vision when it comes to 5G and regulators "not seeing how truly disruptive it is going to be."
He then tied that lack of vision to the 3-2, with Democrats dissenting, vote to approve the T-Mobile-Sprint deal, a deal he said would create a stronger wireless broadband competitor to Verizon and AT&T--Sprint and T-Mobile have argued that they need the deal to make them a 5G player. One of the conditions on the deal is that they will deploy 5G service to 85% of rural Americans within three years and 90% of rural Americans within six years, for example.
"Some people have voted against [the deal]," Carr said—though not mentioning Democrats Jessica Rosenworcel and Geoffey Starks, who voted against the deal, even when pressed. He said the dissenters were suggesting the status quo should be preserved because this was the golden age of wireless (Rosenworcel said in her dissenting statement that "the T-Mobile-Sprint merger will end a golden age in wireless"). "I don't think so," he said. Carr pointed out that cable providers are adding more wireless subs than wireless companies, while wireless is looking to 5G for in-home broadband in competition to fixed providers like cable ops.
He said with "vision," the T-Mobile-Sprint deal makes sense, and seeing that "shows you understand where technology is moving." He also suggested that states suing to block the deal also lack that vision to see the deal as providing a strong third competitor that will give viewers the increased choice they want.
The episode airs Saturday, Nov. 23, at 6:30 ET on C-SPAN and Monday, Nov. 25, at 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. ET on C-SPAN2.