Outgoing interview with FCC Chairman Martin

Broadcasting & Cable runs an exclusive interview with outgoing FCC Chairman Kevin Martin, who will chair his last open meeting on January 15th. Excerpt below.

What is the biggest misconception about you?

It is that somehow I have treated cable operators differently than the telephone companies. I think that when people in town don’t have substantive arguments, they turn to process arguments. The cable industry, in addressing the arguments that they are charging more every year and consumers are having to buy stuff they don’t want, has turned to a process argument that they are being treated unfairly. In reality, I think we have tried to foster environments that allow for new entrants, whether it is an incumbent telephone company or an incumbent cable operator.

What is your advice to the next chairman?

He is going to have to be willing to make those kinds of hard decisions if he wants to actually have an impact and get things done. And it means that a lot of the industry is going to be mad at you. At some point during my time as chairman, every industry we regulate has been mad. The wireless industry has over open access issues and the E911 we imposed for public safety purposes. The VoIP community over 911; the cable industry because we talked about a la carte and consumers having more control over cable prices and content. But I think all of those things I advocated were in the consumers’ interest.