The elections are over, and Republicans have control of the House, the Senate and the White House. So what are the implications for telecom and broadband. First there will be continued bias in favor of the Bell operators. IXCs like AT&T and MCI are screwed. Here are a few highlights:
1. New FCC Chairwoman: Becky Armendariz Klein, a Texas Republican, former chairperson of the Texas Public Utilities Commission and a former White House aide under President George H.W. Bush, is a front runner for this gig. She lost in the 25th Congressional District in Texas but her Bush loyalty is going to get her this job. She has always tilted in favor of the big corporations in the past, and expect her to cast a favorable eye on the Baby Bells.
2. FCC Commissioners: You can expect Kevin Martin (Republican) to look for a new gig. He was too independent for his own good when he voted against Bells in the UNE-P debate. Daddy Cheney cannot save him. Expect extension for Republican Kathleeen Abernathy, whose term expired in June 2004. More from Light Reading.
3. Go Slow-Mo: Borrowing the headline from Gawker, there is a school of though which says that the Bush administration will drag its feet on telecom issues and will leave some major policy moves up until 2007, in the closing days of President Bush’s second term.
4. VoIP Regulation: Michael Powell doesn’t want VoIP regulation and neither does Skype founder Niklas Zennström. But say what they may, expect states to get more control over the VoIP. The big wins in red states make Bush administration more beholden to the states, and Baby Bells. Gartner Group says, “However, clarity in regulatory policy and directional changes aren’t likely to be made immediately, even if President Bush appoints a new FCC chair.”
5. 1996 Telecom Act over haul unlikely: Gartner Group says, “An overhaul of the 1996 Telecommunications Act, despite political posturing. Both the “Baby Bells” and competitive local exchange carriers (CLECs) are losing key political allies in the Senate. The CLEC industry’s most ardent supporter, Commerce Committee ranking Democrat Ernest F. Hollings, is retiring. So are Democrat John Breaux and Republican Don Nickles, senior Bell allies on the Commerce Committee.”