FCC Chairman to Resign

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WASHINGTON, D.C.: Federal Communication Commission Chairman Reed Hundt, who is both loved and hated by the industry he oversees, announced Tuesday he plans to resign but will stay on for the next several months until a successor is found. Hundt, who spearheaded a major effort to deregulate the communications industry, said he is stepping down to spend more time with his children and to write a book about his experiences at the FCC. Hundt said he was proud of his record: "In the past three years, this commission has put the ball in the net more often than not," he said. "We have completely rewritten the rules for all five lanes of the information highway: telephony, wireless, satellite, cable, and broadcasting." The sweeping 1996 telecom reform law, which some say has yet to bring any major changes to the industry, allowed cable and telephone companies to move into each others' businesses as well as deregulating cable rates and making it easier for media companies to own more outlets. Tech watchers viewed the announcement with mixed feelings. While Hundt reportedly is the first FCC leader ever to log onto the Internet, some in the industry hope that the next chairman will be someone with an even stronger interest in policy issues. But they may be asking for the impossible. When asked in a recent interview with C- Net how long the Internet can last free of regulation, Hundt remarked: "Well it certainly can last as long as I have my job."