Departing FCC chairman warns of too much regulation

Departing FCC Chairman Kevin Martin warned the incoming Obama administration and, presumably, Julius Genachowski, Obama's pick to be the next FCC chairman, against excessive regulation.

"There could be a more regulatory environment," he said in an interview with The Financial Times. "If you come in with too much of an interventionist approach, you could ... deter people from investing in the infrastructure." Martin said because of the economic recession, too much regulation could hamper much-needed private investment.

The new FCC will have a list of issues to deal with, including expanding broadband access, the digital TV transition switch delay and its implications for 700 MHz spectrum owners, as well as a decision on a free wireless Internet plan using AWS-3 spectrum.

Martin last week announced he would be stepping down from the commission to become a fellow at the Aspen Institute. Martin, 42, was nominated by President George W. Bush in 2001 and became chairman in 2005. His tenure as chairman has mainly been marked by the deregulation of the wireless industry--epitomized by Verizon Wireless' $28.1 billion acquisition of Alltel, creating the nation's largest wireless carrier.  He also is known for his desire for increased competition among cable operators, expanded broadband access and the 700 MHz spectrum auction.

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