Senator John Kerry has been named to head a new Communications and Technology Subcommittee of Senate Commerce Committee by Commerce Committee Chairman Senator Jay Rockefeller.
Broadcasting & Cable News notes that Kerry “would likely not be the media’s top pick for oversight of their industry.”
“There’s a huge agenda on our plates, from the digital television transition, expanding access to broadband, promoting greater diversity in media ownership, and following through on the 9/11 Commission recommendation to build a nationwide interoperable public safety network,” said Kerry of his appointment. “I’m looking forward to diving into these issues and building consensus for good public policy.”
Senator Kerry is also “on the record as critical of the demise of the FCC’s fairness doctrine, calling that demise one of the ‘most profound changes in the balance of the media.'”
Kerry said in a 2007 radio interview, that “conservatives have been able to ‘squeeze down and squeeze out opinion of opposing views. I think it has been a very important transition in the imbalance of our public dialog.'”
Kerry has also has “been critical of media consolidation and pushed the FCC to allow unlicensed devices in TV white spaces, something broadcasters fought hard against.”
Kerry teamed with then-Senator Barack Obama to try and block the FCC’s relaxation of the newspaper-broadcast cross-ownership ban.
Kerry is also a fan of codifying network neutrality principles, something cable and phone networks would prefer evolved along with their industry.
Kerry is also planning to out a laser-like focus on developing a broadband strategy, which in a commentary for The Hill, he contrasted with the “laissez faire” approach of the Bush administration.
That means higher speeds, public-private partnerships, as well as an open, transparent Internet.
Personally, I would love to see Kerry named to replace Gregg for Commerce Department, however I know he’s content to stay where he is in the Senate chairing the Foreign Relations Committee and now this new post. I post a brief peice about the “Fairness Doctrine” here last night, but neglected to note that I was aware that Kerry had been outspoken about it’s demise in the past.
I think this is great news that Kerry will chair this sub-committee and I expect see some good things happening there.