Biden’s FCC Picks A ‘Dream Team’ for Broadband Advocates

Finally President Biden made his selection for the Federal Communications Commission on Tuesday, ending a confusing delay forcing Democrats to operate the 2–2 deadlock on Republicans instead of the 3–2 majority typically enjoyed by the presidential party.

The names themselves are familiar. Jessica Rosenworcel, who has been acting FCC chairwoman since January, has been appointed permanent chair. Biden will also fill the empty Democratic slot on the commission by nominating Gigi Sohn, a longtime FCC consumer advocate official in the Obama years. Unya-FCC-chair Tom Wheeler chosen child in 2013 to serve as his advisor, a role in which he advocated for the firm neutrality rules and Title II common carrier regulation of internet service providers.

Biden was able to promote Rosenworcel from running to the permanent seat immediately, because the president could choose whoever sat commissioner as the chair. But Rosenworcel’s current five -year term is over, and he will have to leave FCC fully in January if he does not get a new term. That means Biden will have to submit Senate nominations for Rosenworcel and Sohn, and they will have to be confirmed by the Senate to avoid giving Republicans a 2-1 majority at the start of 2022.

Nominations were reported Monday night at Politico and The New York Times and those Office has partnered at the White House on Tuesday. In his nearly 10 years as an FCC commissioner, Rosenworcel “has worked to improve the greater opportunity, accessibility, and affordability of our communications services to ensure that all Americans receive fair shot of 21st century success, ”the White House said, and added. :

From fighting to protect an open internet, to securing broadband access for students covered in the homework gap through the FCC’s Emergency Connectivity Fund, to ensure that households struggling to afford internet service stay connected through the Emergency Broadband Benefit program, he became a champion in connection for all. He is a leader in spectrum policy, developing new ways to support wireless services from Wi-Fi to video and the internet of Things. He fights to curb illegal robocalls and improve consumer protection in our telecommunications policies.

Senate confirmations often take a few months or longer, but Rosenworcel and Sohn’s nominations are likely to be quickly tracked due to circumstances.

Sohn was almost Biden’s choice of Chair

In 2001, Sohn founded with the consumer-advocacy group Public Knowledge, and he was president of that group until working for Wheeler at the FCC. Biden reportedly floated Sohn’s name for the seat slot a few months ago but dropped this plan afterwards. behind-the-scenes opposition from senators. An FCC led by Sohn could be similar to the Federal Trade Commission under Lina Khan, a Biden chosen who makes the FTC a more aggressive antitrust regulator.

“For more than 30 years, Gigi has worked to protect and preserve the fundamental competition and innovation policies that make broadband internet access more ubiquitous, competitive, affordable, open, and protect privacy. to the user, ”the White House said in its announcement of him. nomination.

Not having Sohn as a chair may be a bit of a relief for major telecom providers that have opposed almost every plan to regulate the broadband and cable TV industry. In July, reports of Sohn’s potential nomination led Bernstein media analyst Peter Supino writing, “As chairwoman, we think Sohn is likely to pursue some form of broadband price regulation.” He also wrote that “Sohn pointed out, we expect cable stocks to fall.”

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