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Powell preps regs review

FCC to determine media ownership regulations

NEW YORK — Saying media ownership rules are in dire need of review, Federal Communications Commission chairman Michael Powell spelled out a plan Monday to take a thorough inventory of all such regulations before deciding whether they need to be swept out the door.

Powell laid out his intentions during a wide-ranging press briefing, his second since taking the post in January. The top regulator said he will be focusing on four other areas in addition to ownership issues: homeland security, competition policy, broadband deployment and spectrum allocation.

In regards to homeland security, Powell said the agency must make sure the nation’s communications infrastructure is secured in light of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks on Gotham and Washington. To that end, an existing task force on security issues will be beefed up to address broadcast, and not just telephony, issues.

Turning to the possible easing of ownership rules, Powell said he is still a believer in deregulation — but not at the expense of diversity, and hence, the public interest. “I do believe, however, that the basis and form of media regulation is in dire need of being reinitialized. The underpinnings of the current regulatory regime for media are dated,” Powell said.

Powell said the commission will launch a series of studies on various regulations.

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