Welcome to the new FCC, where our face, and the faces of our staff, are showing up not only in DC but around the nation.
The FCC has been hitting the road - going beyond the DC Beltway - busily setting up events and meeting with consumers and community groups from Charlotte to Seattle. And the nation is taking notice. What surprises and pleases me is that every time we do an event outside of the DC area, the local public seems not just excited – but thankful. We've heard comments from folks like: "I can't believe you came all the way from Washington, DC to listen to us." "Whether we agree with your actions or not, we really appreciate the fact that you're hearing us and giving us the opportunity to comment in person and to answer our questions."
On April 27th and 28th, the FCC took its show on the road to Seattle. The issue at hand was the "open Internet." Zac Katz, Deputy Director of the Office of Strategic Planning & Policy Analysis, opened the community forum on April 27th, explaining in laymen's terms just what "open Internet" is and what relevant issues are currently facing the FCC. The audience was diverse, reflecting the broad spectrum of Seattle's constituency.
The next morning the FCC hosted a workshop, "Approaches to Preserving the Open Internet," moderated by Paul de Sa, Chief of the FCC's Office of Strategic Planning & Policy Analysis. FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski welcomed the audience by video, as did Senator Maria Cantwell and Congressman Jay Inslee. Using new media tools, the FCC was able to field live questions via the Web and Twitter.
What impressed me was no matter how passionate a citizen was on the issue, they began with a very heartfelt "Thank you FCC for being here and listening." Too often, federal agencies regulate and make decisions in a vacuum, safely ensconced in their Washington DC headquarters. Under Chairman Julius Genachowski, a dedicated FCC outreach team has been organizing hearings, workshops and meetings across the United States. We are fortunate to have a full complement of Commissioners always ready to get out there. As with our most recent Seattle events, response has been tremendously positive. In the months to come we're looking forward to visiting a city near you, and listening.