Archive for January 15th, 2009

What is Martin’s legacy?

Now that Kevin Martin is leaving the FCC, what is his legacy likely to be? The things that immediately come to mind are the negative ones - many within VoIP are convinced Martin singlehandedly undermined their industry while the cable industry is probably throwing wild parties tonight, quite certain that Martin singled out cable for particularly onerous attention such as his constant pushing for a la carte programming.

Martin is also criticized for backing incumbents too often and undermining competitors in the process. Under his watch, inaction by the FCC allowed Verizon to win some forbearance from competition, but later requests by Verizon and others for greater forbearance from competition were rejected.

I think the thing that most concerned me was how often the FCC simply ducked rather than deal with difficult issues - broadband penetration, Net Neutrality, the Universal Service Fund, intercarrier compensation — were all things that languished for years. Granted, Martin attempted to push an intercarrier compensation plan through in the final months — what if he taken that leadership stand earlier?

Having said all that, it’s unfair to expect one man to solve issues that have plagued this industry for years. And he must be given credit for establishing a regulatory environment such that both AT&T and Verizon - and particularly Verizon — were able to invest billions in their networks to upgrade their access networks.

So what am I missing here? How would you evaluate Martin’s performance as FCC Chairman?

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