Free Press has taken out a wanted ad asking the public to weigh in on the attributes they seek in the next chair of the Federal Communications Commission.

The FCC wields a tremendous amount of power and influence over the way in which our democracy functions because it regulates and oversees both our communications and media environment. The successful functioning of a democracy requires an informed public, and the quality of that information is critical. The right of assembly increasingly depends on communications technologies that can live or die by the sword of FCC regulations bought by industry or opposed by ignorance.

Visit the Free Press site and voice your opinion on the priorities of the next chair. I’ve taken the liberty of highlighting the three I think are most important:

What Will Your FCC Chair Look Like?

Access to quality Internet infrastructure equals access to economic, civic and cultural opportunity. If you can’t get online, you are less informed. You can’t find the best deals. You can’t interact with businesses and government as efficiently as those who can. It’s like your town doesn’t have an exit on the highway, so it’s harder for you to connect with the rest of the world. That’s why I think rural broadband is so important.

According to the Brookings Institution, a one percent increase in broadband penetration results in nearly 300,000 new jobs each year (PDF). Think we might need some job creation nowadays?

You may notice I didn’t highlight women and minority ownership, not because I don’t believe it is important but because I believe that ownership of TV and radio licenses is old school thinking. I spent years of my professional life analyzing and advising players in the communications and media game, and much of what I and we do here at JJP is to actually live out a possible future of distributed communications and media. If forced to prioritize, I’d opt not to focus on the allocation of broadcast licenses, but instead spend our rulemaking energy toward creating an entirely new, more open world.

I have just cancelled my cable TV service completely, and I believe that if we create an open enough network infrastructure (mobile and fixed), that the way we produce and consume media and communicate will not go through TV broadcast facilities but instead through Internet aggregators (YouTube, Netflix, Jack & Jill Politics), competitive network operators (Verizon, Google, municipalities) and a diverse set of intelligent user devices (Tivo, Xbox, iPhone).

We’re at an important historic moment during which we get to influence the rules that determine how our democracy and culture thrive or are held back, and the FCC chair is a critical part of that path. Please fill out the Free Press survey, and use the comments here to discuss what you think the new FCC chair’s priorities should be and why.

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