Hundt: Decision Was Made in 1993 to Promote Mobile Policies

Former FCC chairman Reed Hundt reiterated that his FCC, and
the Clinton Administration in general, decided back in 1993 that mobile
broadband was the communications medium of the future.

That came at a Minority Media and Telecommunications Council
summit on Thursday in Washington, where Hundt was joined by a trio of other
former FCC chairs: Michael Powell, Michael Copps and Dick Wiley.

Asked about the transition to IP delivery of voice and video
content, which all the chairmen conceded was underway, Hundt suggested it had
been in the process for a couple of decades,a point he has made before in suggesting that his FCC was engaged in
promoting the Internet as the new common medium, supplanting broadcasting and

Hundt pointed out that the same month he was confirmed -- in
November 1993 -- Congress had just authorized the FCC to auction spectrum for
mobile communications that allowed the FCC to create a competitive wireless
market and the Internet as a commercial enterprise was effectively launched
with the launch of browsers optimized for pictures on computers.

He said that the next six to nine months featured
conversations about the Internet and mobility. "At the FCC and at the
Clinton White House, a decision was taken by a large number of people,
including Vice President Gore, that the future of communications
technologically was likely to be the Internet and mobility, and that
politically it would be a good thing not a bad thing."

He called it a strategic decision made, not by any one
person, but by government. He said everybody knew those two decisions were
monumentally disruptive.

John Eggerton

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.