The House version of this bill is HR 4809. It seems that in this day and age, as the country is becoming more and more technologically advanced, the communications regulation arm of the federal government is feeling a little left behind. This is a fairly common thing these days, companies are run by accountants and lawyers while the engineers and technologists that actually do whatever technical thing the organization is supposed to be doing are “those funny guys in the basement” or corner or wherever. The bill reads as such:
Section 4(f)(2) of the Communications Act of 1934 (47 U.S.C. 154(f)(2)) is amended by inserting after the first sentence the following new sentence: ‘Each commissioner may also appoint an electrical engineer or computer scientist to provide the commissioner technical consultation when appropriate and to interface with the Office of Engineering and Technology, Commission Bureaus, and other technical staff of the Commission for additional technical input and resources, provided that such engineer or scientist holds an undergraduate or graduate degree from an institution of higher education in their respective field of expertise.’.
That would be a step in the right direction. Hopefully said engineer has several years of experience also, field experience would be even better. As a radio engineer, I learned that theory is great and most of the time everything goes together exactly as it is supposed to. There are those occasions, however, where theory has to be thrown out and a prove-fail/prove-pass approach needs to be taken.
In any case, the bill appears to be on the fast track and hopefully, the FCC commissioners will choose and use their staff engineers wisely.