Republican Commissioner Brendan Carr has stopped short of endorsing acting chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel for the job on a more permanent footing, but signaled her approach to the job--necessitated in part by the fact that it is at a 2-2 political tie until a third Democrat is added--has improved the work product.
Carr was being interviewed for C-SPAN's Communicators series.
"It has been going very well at the FCC the last couple of months [since Rosenworcel took over]," he said. "We have been engaging in good faith compromise. I don't think any one member of the commission has gotten everything they wanted out of every item, but we are compromising and I think our work product has improved because of that."
Asked by host Peter Slen if he would support taking the "acting" off Rosenworcel's title, Carr said he didn't think the endorsement of a Republican commissioner would help, but said "it has been great of her to reach across party lines and compromise" and that he had enjoyed the work they had gotten done together.
Asked about some of his issues with the Biden Administration's billions in broadband subsidies, one of Carr's big problems was that price controls appeared clearly to be on the table. That certainly seemed to be the case with the state-by-state talking points the White House released to make its case for all that broadband subsidy money.
Carr said there was nothing that was going to scare private investment in broadband buildouts more quickly than the the threat of rate regulation. Carr said increased competition was the best way to keep the broadband price trend line going down, which he said it has been doing for a while.
He pointed out that Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.) has suggested that net neutrality is a way to get at price controls, adding that it has been Big Tech's strategy to use net neutrality "as a stalking horse to try and drive down the prices of the inputs to their services.
But he said take rate regs and price controls off the table and there was a lot of common ground on net neutrality and rules could be put in place to put the issue in the rearview mirror. Republicans have supported rules against blocking, throttling and anticompetitive paid prioritization, just not under the Title II common carrier regime that allows for rate regulation.
The Carr Communicators episode airs on C-SPAN Saturday, April 17 at 6:30 p.m. ET, and on C-SPAN2 Monday, April 19, at 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. ET.
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Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.