Jumped or pushed, Wheeler falls down the memory hole

22 January 2017 by Steve Blum
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It seems the finger was loaded.

Friday was a holiday for federal employees in the Washington, DC area, but even so, someone was busy updating the Federal Communications Commission’s website. Tom Wheeler, the former chairman of the FCC, is now an unperson, “vaporised” and “effectively erased from existence”, as the Ministry of Truth would describe it. If the Ministry of Truth was actually in the business of describing anything.

As of today, the commission’s leadership page lists only three commissioners – Mignon Clyburn, Michael O’Rielly and caudillo-in-waiting Ajit Pai – and makes no mention of a chair, past, present or future.… More

Trump's FCC takes shape, and it looks like a power tool

17 December 2016 by Steve Blum
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The new majority

The Federal Communications Commission will begin the Trump administration with a 2-to-1 majority. Chairman Tom Wheeler finally made his plans public on Thursday, saying he would hand in his resignation as Donald Trump becomes the U.S. president on 20 January 2017. That would leave two republicans – Ajit Pai and Michael O’Rielly – and one democrat, Mignon Clyburn on the commission.

Wheeler’s departure was inevitable. He would have lost his chairman’s gig the minute Trump took office, and his strutting style and big man on campus persona could never be sufficiently deflated to fit within the humble job description of a working commissioner on the minority side.… More

No lame duck FCC decisions, says Wheeler

18 November 2016 by Steve Blum
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Or better yet, dead stop.

Tom Wheeler is leaving any significant decisions on telecommunications policy to the incoming Trump administration and the new republican majority that will follow on the Federal Communications Commission. The FCC chairman spoke after a very brief open meeting yesterday, saying he has not spoken with anyone from the incoming Trump administration, but he is bowing to pressure from republicans in congress, who want him to walk away from the table now.… More

Wheeler surrenders to republicans, cancels today's FCC agenda

17 November 2016 by Steve Blum
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The Federal Communications Commission won’t be voting today on price controls and other regulations for wholesale broadband service and facilities. Nor will it address mobile roaming standards, or adopt rules for mobile infrastructure subsidies or set requirements for audio narration of video content for the people with vision impairments. A planned (but not revealed) enforcement action has also been scrapped. All that’s left for commissioners to do today is vote on a Freedom of Information Act request.… More

To drain the telecoms swamp, first stop filling it

16 November 2016 by Steve Blum
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The buzz around the incoming Trump administration’s telecoms policy is centering on Jeffrey Eisenach, a consultant to Verizon and apparently the man in charge of picking key staffers and, ultimately, commissioners at the FCC. He’s also been affiliated with the American Enterprise Institute – a conservative Washington, DC think tank – and in that capacity co-authored a white paper with a number of colleagues there that calls for drastically shrinking the Federal Communications Commission.

The paper is animated by a fear of regulatory overreach resulting from a federal court decision involving – surprise!… More

Update: Pai can keep FCC seat through 2017

11 November 2016 by Steve Blum
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I made a mistake about FCC terms in this story (click here). FCC commissioners can stay in office for up to two years after their terms expire (until “the expiration of the next session of Congress subsequent to the expiration of said fixed term of office”). That changes Ajit Pai’s position – he’s good through 2017 unless a replacement is appointed – and extends Mignon Clyburn’s and Tom Wheeler’s potential terms through 2019. That changes the chess board a bit, but not the main point of the story: Wheeler is out as chairman in January and must resign before the end of the year if Rosenworcel is to continue as a commissioner.

Wheeler's FCC agenda hits the wall in December

10 November 2016 by Steve Blum
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If he doesn’t pull the trigger, someone will do it for him.

The Federal Communications Commission will look a lot different come January, as chairman Tom Wheeler either resigns or is shoved aside. With a republican president set to take office, the priority will be to clear enough seats on the five member commission to give the new administration a three-vote majority.

Democrat Jessica Rosenworcel will be out of a job at the end of year, unless the republican-led senate votes to confirm her.… More

Wheeler's "breeze" blows hot air

13 July 2014 by Steve Blum
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What – me worry?

Fierce Online Video ran a great article by Samantha Bookman comparing a cheerleading editorial in the Wall Street Journal by FCC chairman Tom Wheeler with a much more pessimistic view of future that came from a broad canvassing of Internet experts by Pew Research. According to the article, Wheeler, a former lead lobbyist for both the mobile phone and cable television industries, wrote…

“In the not-too-distant future, wireless communications will connect not just everyone, but everything.


Don't start the muni broadband party until FCC chair Wheeler puts it in writing

Given FCC chairman Tom Wheeler’s tap dancing on net neutrality regulations and his long pedigree as a lobbyist for cable and mobile interests, there’s good reason to carefully parse anything he says. Including what seemed to be pro-muni broadband remarks made last week at the National Cable & Telecommunications Association’s annual show in Los Angeles…

For many parts of the communications sector, there hasn’t been as much competition as consumers and innovation deserve. Given the high fixed costs and consequent scale economies, this isn’t especially surprising.


FCC chair Wheeler pushes network neutrality regulation

8 January 2014 by Steve Blum
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If he sees a foul, Wheeler is ready to throw a flag.

Tom Wheeler, the new chairman of the FCC, left no doubt today that he intends to enforce network neutrality rules. Speaking at CES, he made it clear that the FCC will play a central role in regulating the relationship between Internet service providers and their customers.

The first question is exactly how much power the FCC has to regulate the way Internet service is delivered.… More