Posted by: AT&T Blog Team on September 10, 2013 at 2:01 pm
Remarks by AT&T’s Jim Cicconi as prepared for delivery at today’s Media Institute Communications Forum Luncheon in Washington, DC:
It’s September in Washington, my favorite time of year. We all pretend we’ve just gotten back from hobnobbing with the Obamas in Martha’s Vineyard, and we’re now ready to focus on the more important things. Like the Redskins. Oh yeah. And there’s another budget crisis. Another debt ceiling deadline. Another Middle East war, maybe. Oh, and we have plenty of leaks, and even leaks about leaks. Not to mention leaks by the leakees about the leaker. We have another Obama speech labeled “the biggest of his presidency”. And on vacation, we all read “This Town”, or pretended we did. Because, after all, we had to find out if we were in it. And if we weren’t, we had to be able to tell all our friends “thank God I wasn’t in the book” while secretly wishing we were. Even if it meant getting trashed.
But for us telecom junkies, all this pales. In our own in-bred, anti-Copernican world, we’re consumed not by these issues. Instead, we’re buzzing about a new FCC Chairmanship. We are truly our own self-contained universe.
Yes, like all of you, I put out my statement praising Tom Wheeler and the many virtues I know he’ll bring to his job. I mean really– even Susan Crawford put out a statement, so I’m not sure how impressed the incoming chairman is by all these expressions of devotion. But, in this case, I actually think we have a good chance of being right. (And that’s not because Free Press took the opposing view… though with their track record, it is a validation of sorts.)
So, with faith that we’ll all be saying the same wonderful things at the end of Chairman Wheeler’s tenure that we’re saying before he starts, I wanted to offer a few modest thoughts about the big challenges our new FCC chairman will face in this time of huge technological upheaval in communications. But best to begin with his exquisite conundrum.