Transition Watch: Obama’s FCC Advisors Include Crawford, Werbach


Change is on its way to the alphabet agencies with media, telecom, tech and internet oversight — but it’s taking two tracks. While the Obama-Biden transition team fits potential appointees to posts, review teams are diving in deep at the agencies and departments to provide the kind of info needed to make “strategic policy, budgetary, and personnel decisions.” (That includes ensuring senior appointees can “begin implementing signature policy initiatives immediately after they are sworn in.”) This provides us with a new pastime: trying to figure out what the review team choices mean.

FCC: The appointment of review co-leaders Susan Crawford and Kevin Werbach, (not Ken, as the transition site still has), translates as a boost for net neutrality but that’s the simplistic view. Crawford believes the internet is a utility and that the U.S. is far behind on broadband adpotion. Werbach is an assistant professor of legal studies at Wharton, the founder of the Supernova tech conference and a former FCC counsel for new technology. Crawford teaches internet law and communications law at the University of Michigan Law School; she was on the board of ICANN and founded OneWebDay.

From Werbach’s blog: “The FCC has a vital role to play in the nascent Network Age. During the campaign, Barack Obama and his advisors demonstrated an understanding of the transformative power of today


Brian Hayashi @connectme

The Internet truly has become a third utility for all intents and purposes. To take that analogy a bit further, the energy industry has a term "stranded investment" that refers to investments in energy generation, distribution or transmission that has fallen out of political favor or is considered simply too expensive to execute.

Here in the Rocky Mountains, we have lower line density than urban centers like New York or Washington DC. I hope the FCC sees fit to address our unique needs, including the issues faced by small, independent and rural providers.

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