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FCC's Powell to Resign... Someday

Apparently it's open season in declaring the resignation of Michael Powell, who is Chairman of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and the son of Secretary of State Colin Powell.

If you believe the FCC, it's not happening any time soon. While chatter of Powell's resignation seems to be showing up all over the place and feeding on itself like an Internet virus, the FCC denies the reports.

Today the FCC rebuffed a recent Time magazine article, which has once again fired up the resignation rumor mill. "The report is without foundation -- the chairman has no plans to leave the commission," Reuters quotes an FCC spokesman in response to the Time article.

What's sparking the rumors? Powell's been roundly criticized by Congress for his move to ease media ownership rules. He's also been criticized for not holding sway while fellow Republican Kevin Martin sided with the Democrats against Powell's attempt to abandon the rules that require incumbent carriers to allow competitors access to key network elements at wholesale prices (see Powell Loses FCC Vote and FCC's Martin: Ruling 'Balanced').

The story of Powell's potential resignation is not new. It appears to be constantly making the rounds in the press.

The Wall Street Journal cited rumors that Powell would resign in late February. The rumors were repeated in Slate.com's "Today's Papers" column.

An April 1 piece in Washington Monthly said that Powell was so infuriated with losing the vote regarding the telecom rules that "some close observers think he may resign."

The Daily Deal, in a June 18 article, says if the President were to overturn Powell's media ownership rules, it "would be such a significant rebuke that Powell would likely have to resign."

The same paper quoted Legg Mason Inc. analyst Blair Levin in another piece as saying there's "only one person whose lack of confidence could force Powell to resign, and that is the president."

Also last month, when musing on why everyone on television seems so happy these days, Television Week columnist Tom Shales asked: "Did I miss something? Did Joan Rivers retire? Or Michael Powell resign?"

So it is apparent that Powell's resignation is on everyone's minds. It's not clear when Powell will resign, but it shouldn't be long now. Less than five years, tops.

— Phil Harvey, Senior Editor, Light Reading

materialgirl 12/4/2012 | 11:43:48 PM
re: FCC's Powell to Resign... Someday Given the cross-currents going on in telecom, can any human manage to remain chairman of the FCC? While Powell is no saint, what would it take to "succeed" in this job?

Yes, to serve the public, education about the powers of the "end to end" network, and the ROI of fiber/IP over our currnt mess, would be good. Some policy about intellectual property ownership would also be nice. However, to serve their keepers, the FCC must keep the public in the dark, allow consolidation to accelerate, and to allow transport to mix with added services so that a few conglomerates can control what we see and do.

Powell seems to be talking a good game about the former, but doing his best to support the latter. Since we have the best government money can buy these days, what else could we expect?
rjmcmahon 12/4/2012 | 11:43:25 PM
re: FCC's Powell to Resign... Someday While Powell is no saint, what would it take to "succeed" in this job?

o To serve the public
o Education about the powers of the "end to end" network
o The ROI of fiber/IP
o Some policy about intellectual property ownership


These qualifications seem to be on the right track.

However, to serve their keepers, the FCC must keep the public in the dark, allow consolidation to accelerate, and to allow transport to mix with added services so that a few conglomerates can control what we see and do.

I don't agree with this. This conflicts with both serving the public and end/end. Why do you think it is the right way?
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