Is It Time To Ban The FCC?

The FCC's incompetence is on the front-burner again. This time, congressional investigators have found its oversight of the E-Rate program to get schools and libraries online has led to millions of dollars in waste. Is it time to heed the...

October 19, 2005

1 Min Read
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The FCC's incompetence is on the front-burner again. This time, congressional investigators have found its oversight of the E-Rate program to get schools and libraries online has led to millions of dollars in waste. Is it time to heed the advice of a Columbia Law School Professor who says it's time to dismantle the FCC? Columbia Law School Professor Eben Moglen told Forbes Magazine that the FCC should be dismantled. His reasoning? Mesh networks will make it possible for anyone to be a broadcaster, without interfering with anyone else's transmissions.

The FCC was established to make sure that broadcast bands didn't interfere with one another --- and so because that issue is moot, he argues, we can safely kill the FCC.

Moglen is a big Open Source supporter, and he applies the underlying theory of Open Source to broadcasting, in essence arguing that no one can own the airwaves. And if that's the case, he says, there's no need for the FCC.

"My goal is to do all of the work it takes to be explaining to the Supreme Court in 2025 why broadcasting is unconstitutional," he told Forbes.

Moglen is only half-right. He's right that the FCC is applying yesterday's thinking to today's and tomorrow's technology. But the answer isn't to dismantle the FCC --- it's to appoint competent commissioners who understand technology, and aren't in the pockets of various special interests. So we should do a clean sweep of the commissioners, but still keep the agency.

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