ARRL

ARRL General Bulletin ARLB003 (2005)

SB QST @ ARL $ARLB003
ARLB003 FCC chairman resigns

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ARRL Bulletin 3  ARLB003
From ARRL Headquarters  
Newington CT  January 21, 2005
To all radio amateurs 

SB QST ARL ARLB003
ARLB003 FCC chairman resigns

FCC Chairman Michael K. Powell announced January 21 that he'll step
down, effective ''sometime in March.'' Nominated by former President
Bill Clinton, Powell joined the FCC in 1997 and became its chairman
two days after President George Bush was sworn in for his first term
in 2001. ARRL CEO David Sumner, K1ZZ, called Powell's performance ''a
deep disappointment'' after some initial optimism--especially given
his unabashed cheerleading on behalf of the FCC's broadband over
power line (BPL) initiative.

''It's no secret that we thought Chairman Powell was going entirely
in the wrong direction on BPL and dragging the other commissioners
and FCC staff along--willing or not--because he was, after all, the
chairman,'' Sumner said. ''A new chairman might be a chance for a
fresh start.''

When the FCC adopted new Part 15 rules for BPL last October, Powell
called it ''a banner day.'' While conceding that BPL will affect some
spectrum users, including ''all those wonderful Amateur Radio
operators out there,'' Powell implied that the FCC must balance the
benefits of BPL against the relative value of other licensed
services. He listed the FCC's adoption of BPL rules among the
''policy highlights'' of his tenure.

Possibilities to replace Powell include the other Republican members
of the five-member FCC--Kathleen Q. Abernathy, a staunch BPL
supporter, and Kevin J. Martin. Speculation also has been raised
about various outside candidates. ''We look forward to the
opportunity to work with the new chairman, whoever that may be,''
Sumner said.

In his announcement, Powell said it was ''with a mixture of pride and
regret'' that he informed the president of his decision to step down.
''Having completed a bold and aggressive agenda, it is time for me to
pursue other opportunities and let someone else take the reins of
the agency,'' he said. ''During my tenure, we worked to get the law
right in order to stimulate innovative technology that puts more
power in the hands of the American people, giving them greater
choices that enrich their lives.''

The chairman said the seeds of the Commission's policies under his
leadership ''are taking firm root in the marketplace and are starting
to blossom.'' He cited the increased use of cell phones, digital TV
and other digital technology ''increasingly connected anytime,
anywhere by a wide variety of broadband networks.'' Proclaimed
Powell, ''Our children will inherit this exciting future.''

As FCC chairman, Powell also was in the forefront of enforcing the
Commission's rules on indecency, largely through imposing huge fines
on violators. He also supported changes in media ownership rules
that permitted even greater concentration of broadcast station
ownership.
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