Copps Priorities: DTV, DTV and DTV

Interim FCC Chairman Michael Copps made clear Monday he plans action—and not just a caretaker role—as the commission awaits the expected nomination and Senate confirmation of Obama crony Julius Genachowski as chairman.

In an address to FCC staff Monday afternoon, Copps said there’s no reason to wait on some key moves forward for the commission.

First off, Copps wants the commissioners and bureaus to improve communications. And to show he’s serious, he’s starting this week to have a weekly “Chairman’s Office Briefing” with bureau and office chiefs, and a representative of each commissioner.

“Opening up these meetings will, I am convinced, significantly improve the quality of our decision-making,” Copps said. “It will also expedite the business of the Commission. I also want to ensure that my Commissioner colleagues have unfettered access to the Bureaus, with the presumption being that requests for information will be honored, and that there will be positive outreach from the Bureaus and Offices to them, with the presumption being that important information shouldn’t have to be asked for—it should be provided.”

He acknowledged that it’s getting late for the commission to launch a coordinated effort to improve the outcome of the DTV transition, now set for Feb. 17 unless Congress delays it.

“But we have an obligation to do what we can in the three weeks remaining to minimize the dislocation and then, in the weeks following, to repair the things that didn’t work,” Copps said. “Should Congress extend the transition date, that will afford some additional and badly-needed time. I hope that time will be accompanied with some additional resources for the Commission’s important work.”

One key piece of DTV education is already in motion. “We can and will proceed with the DTV page now and, in fact, folks have already started looking into how to reconfigure our DTV information and make it more user-friendly,” he said.

That’s just part of a complete needed overhaul of the FCC Web site, he said.

Copps said the next two commission meetings will be Feb. 5 and March 5.