Scheduling Problems at FCC
Readers may recall a previous entry here where I pointed out that no one from FCC was scheduled to talk at IEEE Globecom, a major telecom technology conference in Washington this week and the first such conference held in the city in several years. The good news is that things changed after the blog entry -- although it is unclear if there is a cause and effect relationship.
OET Chief Julius Knapp was invited to and was able to get Chairman's Office approval to speak at a spectrum panel chaired by NTIA. He was not on the preliminary program but was added in time for the printed final program.
Then Chairman Martin accepted an invitation to speak at the "Executive Business Forum" part of the conference. It suddenly looked like FCC really wanted to engage the telecom technical community for the first time in ages.
But when I registered for the conference, there was a insert in the program giving another set of speakers for the Wednesday "Executive Business Forum". Asking a senior organizer of the meeting, I found out that Chairman Martin canceled out a week before the meeting for reasons that were not mentioned. Now Chairman Reed Hundt had canceled out an address at the IEEE International Microwave Symposium in 1997 in San Francisco, but it was because of a last minute summons to an unpleasant congressional hearing and he videotaped his address and sent it with regrets. So why didn't Chairman Martin come? Perhaps because of the hard time he was having with cable TV regulation at the Tuesday FCC meeting that dragged on until 10:30 PM?
Then I saw yesterday's Telecommunications Reports an article entitled " Martin Tries to Steady Ship at FCC after Some Question His Leadership". The article had the following observation,
The Commission's chief regulator, replying to a reporter's question during his appearance at a symposium sponsored by the Phoenix Center about the current working relationship at the FCC, stated that while debate over issues in front of the agency can occasionally get contentious, those issues almost always get worked out through compromise.
So I said, "What Phoenix Center symposium?" With a little Googling I found that this apparently referred to The Phoenix Center for Advanced Legal & Economic Public Policy Studies' 2007 Annual U.S. Telecoms Symposium . Indeed the program has Chairman Martin speaking at 11:45 - 12:15, followed by a lunch.
So I suspect that the problem was either double booking by the Chairman's staff or a desire to avoid the "techies" and lunch with another crowd.
In any case we are not making much progress in improving the dialog between the Commission and the technical community. If the top management won't let middle management engage the technical community due to onerous preapproval requirements for any speaking engagements and then doesn't engage at higher levels, then there isn't much communications.
The continuing ambiguous status of the FCC's Technological Advisory Council, that without any explanation hasn't met in over a year, is a sign of bad communications for this communications commission. Oddly, at the Globecomm spectrum session Karl Nebbia of NTIA bragged about their new advisory committee.