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New FCC chairman echoes Powell

Speaking for the first time in public as FCC chairman, Kevin Martin said last week that he will continue favoring deregulation to foster change in the telecommunications industry. However, Martin’s definition of deregulation did not seem to include a retreat in the FCC’s indecency campaign begun under his predecessor.

During an appearance at the National Cable and Telecommunications Association’s annual convention, Martin said he would continue down the path set by former Chairman Michael Powell by creating a “level playing field” between providers in a “deregulatory, not regulatory, fashion,” CNET reported.

Martin applauded the cable industry for its estimated $95 billion investment to upgrade its coaxial networks to support digital and high-definition video, high-speed Internet access and phone services. Because of that investment, Martin said the cable industry has helped increase broadband penetration into more homes.

Yet it was clear, however, that Martin plans to continue to keep a hands-on approach to the issue of indecent programming. Although he has not confronted this issue yet, Martin said the “growing tide” of complaints makes him take the issue seriously.

He appealed to the audience to be proactive about policing themselves.

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