NCTA pres/CEO Kyle McSlarrow has often called for deregulation and criticized the FCC, but it’s not every day we hear him praise a telco. As the NCTA chief put forth ideas for shaping new telecom law at Tues’ Media Institute lunch in DC, he also thanked Verizon lobbyist Tom Tauke, "who injected the concept of ‘new wire, new rules’ into the policy debates." (Don’t misread that though: he was still quite clear that the new rules should apply to all providers). McSlarrow spent much of his speech calling for an overhaul of the FCC, endorsing a proposal by think tank Progress & Freedom Foundation arguing that the Commission should be more like the FTC. "The FCC would have authority to intervene in the marketplace only if it determines that marketplace competition would not adequately protect consumers against unfair methods of competition or deceptive practices," he said, quipping that "this is not your father’s cable industry—unless, of course, your father is Brian Roberts." Another one of his catchy lines: The FCC is an agency "where the trivial metastasizes into the burdensome." McSlarrow said he wasn’t calling the current regime a "disaster," but he argued that the rules have become outdated. "We have an agency that seeks more regulatory authority rather than less," he said. "And, instead of focusing on how to unleash new technologies that would benefit consumers, we find the FCC asking and answering the same questions over and over again, often in cable’s case, involving the provisions found in one statute passed in 1992." Asked about FCC chmn Kevin Martin‘s promise at last week’s Cable Show to give the industry a fair hearing, McSlarrow said "I take him at his word." And as for the chmn’s recent letter to House Telecom chmn Ed Markey (D-MA) asking that any junk food TV ad crackdowns be extended to cable, McSlarrow said the industry should take responsible steps to avoid having people choose between "respecting the 1st Amendment and protecting children."