Powell: ‘Regulatory Ethos’ Growing


Federal Communications Commission chairman Michael Powell warned
telecommunications executives that faith in free markets and deregulation is
waning in the nation’s capital.

"In Washington, I see a rise of a regulatory ethos, a belief that regulators
can do it better," Powell said Monday at the Aspen Summit in Colorado. "I find
that worrisome. The telecommunications and high-tech industries are at a point
where they can ill afford to be lined up with that kind of thinking on

He continued, "Innovation, the magic that goes into how an entrepreneur in
his garage comes up with something never done before, is really unique and has
only flowered in countries committed to free markets and risk-taking. If we
micromanage, we will quell innovation in a way that is a threat to it."

Powell expressed concerns that the FCC’s structure of five members divided by
political party was "cumbersome" and hindered the commission’s capacity for
"bold decisive decisions made quickly."

"What worries me even more than our speed is our ability to not be
mealy-mouthed," he said. "Even after you read the paragraph the fourth time,
you’re reading it and not sure what it means and what to do, because five people
negotiated over what that says. I think a lot of businessmen would prefer, right
or wrong, for it to be clear. They’re thinking, ‘Even if you’re going to screw
me, tell me what the law is, and I’ll find another way to do it.’"

States News Service