Representative Cliff Stearns: “The plans seeks to make 500 MHz of spectrum available for wireless broadband within ten years. That’s good, so long as the FCC does not give the spectrum away or rig auctions with conditions, then we’ll advance our broadband goals while generating needed federal revenue. I hope that the broadband spectrum on the part of the broadcasters will be looked at carefully and that if they have to relinguish anything it will be on a voluntary basis.”
–Opening statement of Representative Cliff Stearns, Hearing of the U.S. House Subcommittee on Communications, Technology, and the Internet, “Oversight of the Federal Communications Commission: The National Broadband Plan,”March 25, 2010, at 22:40 (27:10).
Usually when politicians speak out of both sides of their mouth, they do so at different times and in front of different audiences. Here, representative Cliff Stearns, the ranking minority member of the U.S. House Subcommittee on Communications, Technology, and the Internet, does it in sequential sentences in his opening remarks at his subcommittee’s oversight hearing on the FCC’s broadband plan. It’s a testament to the shallow telecom reporting and widespread indifference to such inconsistencies that Stearns would feel comfortable publicly posing as a defender of the public purse while, in effect, championing a giveaway of tens of billions of dollars of public assets to the broadcast industry.