The first 2 mins of the video give background on FCC frequency allocation.
So when Minnow said that he was at the FCC to, “uphold and protect the public interest,” he lays out an inspiring case for the use of mass communication for the “public interest.” I think we all agree that we’re not in a situation today that would warrant a similar speech, we have an endless supply of trash and treasure for consumption. But, it marked a crossroads for the FCC and it’s facing another crossroad today.
The FCC is considering what to do with unused broadcast spectrum (article). Is the public’s interest better served by selling that spectrum to service providers, or to allow free government subsidized wifi access.
The themes of in Minnow’s speech are applicable to this case, “service to the people and the cause of freedom.” The difference is the delivery system. It gets at the heart of the FCC, communication. We always had a fee associated to the access of the internet, whereas in Minnow’s time access was subsidized by the content distributors. It’s not possible for the internet content providers to subsidize infrastructure development, but it is possible for the government. I don’t think we’ve had government infrastructure development on this scale in my lifetime. It would mean free access to the most powerful communication tool the world has ever seen, I don’t think anyone could say that isn’t in the public interest.