As Chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, Reed Hundt was guided by two principles: first, that the FCC should make decisions based on the public interest and second, that the FCC should write fair rules of competition for the communications sector. In his first two years as Chairman, he was recognized for his leadership on issues ranging from spectrum auctions to children's education and programming to access for people with disabilities.
Hundt received the "Distinguished Service Award" from the National Association of Elementary School Principals and the National Association of Secondary School Principals "for his ongoing commitment to education -- both through connecting schools to the information superhighway and improving children's television;" the "Public Service Award to Children" from Parents' Choice for being "A staunch advocate for children...[with] the foresight to work towards access for all children to educational television, computer skills, and 21st century technology"; and the "Helen Keller Outstanding Public Service Award" from the American Foundation for the Blind "for his exemplary efforts to include all Americans, especially those who are blind or visually impaired, in the communications revolution and for creating the FCC's Disabilities Issues Task Force," which he also chaired.
Under Chairman Hundt, the FCC conducted the first spectrum auction in U.S. history and, in its first two years of auction authority, the agency has raised almost $20 billion for the national treasury. This amount is more than 60 times the combined Congressional appropriations for the FCC for its entire 61 years of existence. Hundt has also expressed a commitment to flexible rules for the use of spectrum.
Chairman Hundt advocates articulating clear, specific, concrete rules for the communications sector, and has actively promoted competition within and among all five lanes of the information superhighway that the FCC regulates: broadcast, cable, satellite, wire, telephony, and wireless communications. Under Chairman Hundt, the FCC has promoted greater choice for consumers, increased opportunity for all businesses, and fair rules of competition. With passage of the Telecommunications Act of 1996, the FCC will be responsible for implementing its numerous and complicated provisions.
Chairman Hundt is strongly committed to pursuing the vision of the President and Vice President to network every classroom and library in the United States to the information superhighway by the year 2000. He has established an Education Task Force to coordinate the FCC's role in implementing the education provisions of the Telecommunications Act.
Chairman Hundt was the first Chairman to bring FCC operations into the communications age. He was the first Chairman to make himself accessible to a wide audience by participating in open, online conversations with the public and was the first FCC Chairman to have a personal computer on his desk and to be connected to an electronic network.
Under Chairman Hundt's leadership, the Commission established an FCC presence on the Internet, allowing the public to access information about the Commission and to ask questions via this network. Chairman Hundt also initiated a pilot project to test whether electronic mailboxes would provide better service to the public, allowing the public to submit comments and views on specific issues or proceedings. The Internet site, along with the new fax -on-demand system, have made it easier for the public to get copies of FCC proposals, decisions, meeting notices, speeches, daily releases, FCC phone contacts and other information.
Chairman Hundt directed a reorganization of the FCC that grouped similar parts of the agency together in International and Wireless Telecommunications Bureaus (replacing the International Office and the Private Radio Bureau). The reorganization of the Compliance and Information Bureau will take advantage of advances in technology to better utilize scare resources outside of FCC headquarters and will also use a new toll free call center to allow the public to get faster, easier answers to questions about FCC rules and issues and to FCC information.
Before becoming Chairman of the FCC, Mr. Hundt was a partner in the Washington office of Latham & Watkins, a national and international law firm. His work included legal and regulatory issues in emerging technologies, such as cellular telephones, direct broadcast satellite, and interactive television.
In his private legal career he also handled pro bono matters for the U.S. Court of Appeals, the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, the Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights, Conservation International, and the D.C. Preservation League.
Chairman Hundt is a graduate of Yale College (1969) and Yale Law School (1974), where he was a member of the board of the Yale Law Journal. He clerked for the late Chief Judge Harrison L. Winter of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, and is a member of the District of Columbia, Maryland, and California bars.
Chairman Hundt was born in Michigan and lives in Chevy Chase, Maryland with his wife and their three children, Adam, Nathaniel, and Sara.
Reed Hundt was named Chairman of the FCC by President Clinton and was sworn in by Vice President Gore on November 29, 1993.