In fact, Huber doesn't believe the FCC should have been created in the first place. It all began with President Herbert Hoover's love of order. Hoover, being an engineer who despised messy solutions when a neat one was possible, didn't want the broadcasting business to go through the chaos that the telephone industry had endured before its regulation. Rather than letting conflicts be resolved gradually through the courts, Hoover had order imposed almost from the start by nationalizing the airwaves and putting them under the protection of the FCC. Huber maintains that a free-market solution, complete with long court battles and a decade or two of inconvenience, would have produced a far better outcome in the long run.
According to Huber, the FCC tends to protect monopolies, blocks streamlined use of the airwaves, aids in censoring free speech, dilutes copyright, lessens privacy, and weakens common carriers. Huber isn't pulling any punches here. In part he blames the large bureaucracy of a government agency and the inherent mindset involved. The FCC, Huber argues, just doesn't respond to rapidly changing technology efficiently and quickly.
Huber prefers to see telecommunications policies develop through common law, letting precedent settle issues of private property, anticompetitive business practices, and privacy. He's emphatically against a top-down infusion of inflexible mandates that he believes just aren't doing the job. His book isn't meant to be a mandate either but rather to prod public policy debates and to get us thinking about how we're going to manage communications resources in the next century. --Elizabeth Lewis
From Library Journal
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc.