From: "John R. Murray" <email@example.com>
Date: 5/9/98 8:02pm
Subject: Public Comment
To the Committee:
I'd like to echo the remarks by Newton Minow in response to Robert Decherd
at the April meeting.
"Senator Morrill, right after the Civil War, addressed the question of what
to do with the public lands in the United States throughout the West. ...
The Morrill Act said for every sale, disposition of public land, a certain
percentage of that land must go to form a land grant college. As a result of
that, many of the great universities of the United States were created...It
all stemmed from the conception that Senator Morrill had that if you are
dealing with public property, as you are here with the spectrum, a certain
part of it should be earmarked for the purpose of education. It has made an
enormous difference over the last 140 years in the United States. So the
concept, I think, is a very sound concept."
I am encouraged that the committee is taking a broad view of its charter and
considering a definition of the public interest in terms of the "potency and
pervasiveness and importance of the medium" that would apply to cable as
well as broadcast television.
As broadcasters are already planning to split up their spectrum allocation,
and will likely transmit a variety of formats at different times during the
week, I encourage the committee to take the same approach as Senator
Morrill: Earmark a specific fraction of that bandwidth for education.
Responsibility for this bandwidth can be placed with existing elected or
appointed bodies. The local school boards and library districts would be
responsive to their local communities.
I urge the committee to continue to take this long-term view, so that seven
score and four years from now, Americans can look back and celebrate your
foresight, just as we appreciate Senator Morrill's wisdom today.
John R. Murray