Mar 12, 2010

Former FCC Chair Hundt says decision to favor Internet over TV was made in '94

In a speech that he described as "confession or admission," former FCC Chair Reed Hundt yesterday told a Columbia University audience that his decision to favor broadband over broadcast goes back to 1994, and that the March 17 National Broadband Plan "will reflect ... the end of the era of trying to maintain over-the-air broadcast as the common medium and the beginning of a very detailed, quite substantive, commitment to having broadband, the son of narrowband, be the common medium,"according to TV News Check. He also said the plan "will have in it a specific pathway to shrinking the amount of spectrum that broadcast will be able to use. In all previous eras, the government has expanded the spectrum for broadcast so as to give it a chance to thrive as it moved from analog to digital. Now, it's going to be moving in reverse." He added that he found it "simply astonishing" that the feds assisted broadcasters through the digital transition last year by subsidizing converter boxes for viewers. "Those people would have been much better off getting a voucher for broadband Internet subscriptions." Watch his entire hourlong speech here.

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