FCC Panel Session with Copps and Adelstein

I thoroughly enjoyed the session with the FCC commissioners. I genuinely related to these individuals in the panel presentation and Q&A format in the morning session. And I wasn’t alone. During one of the responses by Copps, I heard a female voice behind me say, “I love this guy, can we hang out with him?”

I couldn’t agree more. I’d love the opportunity to have lunch with these three individuals. Pro-public access, openly vocal about the problems with the current system — even the FCC itself — they are endearingly honest and openly frustrated… and yet they keep working.

I’m not going to pretend that I fully understand the workings of the FCC, but I feel much better informed now. And now, I’ll be doing a bit of poking around on the FCC site and I’ll continue to learn after the conference.

And, I don’t feel too bad about my ignorance, since Adelstein confessed that even after four years, he’s still learning how the FCC works. And he said, asking questions is rather taboo — by the members of the FCC — it’s considered “rude” he says. But, that didn’t stop him from asking questions. I like that.

It was also nice to know that doing their job, for the people — for me and for other members of the public — wasn’t easy. I find it both credibly and ethically reprehensible that the telecom companies hired the commissioner’s best friends, and that the members of congress that they most respected picked up the phone to call them to discuss this issue and to try to sway their vote. Interesting, eh? Adelstein said with $80 million at stake, he sometimes worried about walking out his front door. I don’t blame him.

It gives me some sense of comfort, on a topic I find essentially uncomfortable, to know that these gentlemen are in their positions at the FCC, swimming upstream. And I appreciate that they took the time to come to Memphis and talk to us and answer questions. I only wish there had been more time with them. It’s been my best session of the day, so far.