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FCC’s O’Rielly Invites Cable to Send Feedback

WASHINGTON — Federal Communications Commission member Michael O’Rielly, a Republican (like chairman Ajit Pai), focused his remarks at the ACA’s policy summit on potential changes to past agency actions that affect cable, including the Open Internet order and the classification of broadband under Title II of the Telecommunications Act.

“I hope we can reopen the decision,” O’Rielly said of the Title II ruling from the previous, Democrat-controlled FCC under chairman Tom Wheeler. O’Rielly said he disagreed with how the order handles content prioritization, calling it “incredibly problematic on how it tried to bifurcate the industry.”

O’Rielly characterized Pai’s efforts to “remove barriers” via process reform as “near and dear to my heart” and described overregulation as having “a unique and disproportionate effect on small businesses.” That message seemed to resonate among the audience of small, independent cable operators.

During his onstage discussion with ACA CEO Matt Polka, O’Rielly, making his first-ever appearance at an ACA Summit, invited cable operators to tell the FCC “what can we change to make your life easier — things that don’t cause other industry segments to have a heart attack.” He said his goal is “to reduce the economic cost [and] to modernize our rules.”

“Hopefully in this commission, things will improve,” he said, and he smiled benignly when Polka reminded him that he’s now in the new majority.

Contributor Gary Arlen is known for his insights into the convergence of media, telecom, content and technology. Gary was founder/editor/publisher of Interactivity Report, TeleServices Report and other influential newsletters; he was the longtime “curmudgeon” columnist for Multichannel News as well as a regular contributor to AdMap, Washington Technology and Telecommunications Reports. He writes regularly about trends and media/marketing for the Consumer Technology Association's i3 magazine plus several blogs. Gary has taught media-focused courses on the adjunct faculties at George Mason University and American University and has guest-lectured at MIT, Harvard, UCLA, University of Southern California and Northwestern University and at countless media, marketing and technology industry events. As President of Arlen Communications LLC, he has provided analyses about the development of applications and services for entertainment, marketing and e-commerce.