How to Grill a Potential FCC Nominee

600px-US-FCC-Seal.svgSix organizations sent a letter to the Senate Commerce Committee today with a list of questions that they believe should be asked of the potential nominees to the Federal Communications Commission. Following a delay in May, the Commerce Committee plans to open confirmation hearings on Tuesday for two of the potential commissioners. Some worry those hearings may be delayed yet again. The six organizations — The Leadership Conference on Civil Rights, Prometheus Radio Project, The United Church of Christ Office of Communication Inc., The Media Access Project, Public Knowledge and The Center for Rural Strategies — came up with the several questions in areas ranging from media ownership to broadband access. I’ve included some of those that most interest our readers, but read the letter if you want to the full scoop:

On Broadband:

  • Do you think access to broadband has become a fundamental prerequisite for economic and civic participation in the United States?
  • What steps should the FCC take to ensure that all Americans have access to this technology, including groups with lower rates of access?
  • Most consumers have a choice of only one or two broadband carriers in their local area. Is this sufficient competition and deployment?

On Open Networks:

  • The Administration has said it supports the basic principle that “network providers should not be allowed to charge fees to privilege the content or applications of some web sites and Internet applications over others.” Do you agree? If so, how should this be enforced?

On Wireless:

  • Right now wireless providers restrict consumers’ ability to use the device of their choice with wireless service. Shouldn’t wireless customers have the same rights as users of wired services have had since 1968?

We’ve laid out our requests for the new FCC, which tend to focus on better access to broadband as well as pushing more wireless technologies that can boost access, and thus innovation. At this point, we just want to see the commission on the job.