Tom Wheeler got some advice and assent from Congress -- though perhaps not as much as if it had been in session this week -- on his nomination Wednesday to be the next chairman of the FCC.
House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-Mich.) and Communications Subcommittee Chairman Greg Walden (R-Ore.) said they were concerned about some of Wheeler's views.
“We congratulate Tom Wheeler on his nomination to the FCC, but we are concerned by Mr. Wheeler’s views on merger conditions that can be misused to affect whole industries, not just those seeking merger approval. The FCC should use its lawful rule making authority as a public and transparent process if it wants to change industry-wide behavior and stop using closed door, strong-arm merger conditions."
“We hope the next FCC chairman will work with us to help ensure continued innovation and growth in the communications sector. The next chairman has a unique opportunity to reform the FCC to make it more transparent and efficient, helping to ensure the continued robust growth of the communications sector. Additionally, we are eager to work with the new chairman and the other members of the FCC to ensure an open, successful incentive auction free from artificial restraints on broadcasters willing to sell and wireless providers
willing to buy spectrum.”
"Tom Wheeler will bring a deep understanding of the wireless industry,” said Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.). “He is a good choice for the FCC during an exciting and tumultuous time for communications policy. The President had a number of solid candidates for the job but Tom’s longtime innovative leadership in the communications industry will be a great asset.”
Warner is a former wireless exec, tech start-up investor, while Wheeler once headed the wireless industry's trade association and is a venture capitalist specializing in funding tech start-ups.
"I applaud President Obama for moving quickly to provide continued leadership at the FCC as the agency works on issues that are so critical to our economy in the changing digital age," said Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.) "The FCC's commitment to ensuring adequate local news coverage in New Jersey remains a major concern that I will continue to pursue. Mr. Wheeler's vision to expand broadband services will be critical to families and businesses and I look forward to hearing how he plans to utilize America's innovative spirit and communications infrastructure to improve the economy."
Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.), ranking member of the House Energy & Commerce Committee, called Wheeler a tremendous asset and said the FCC was in good hands with Clyburn.
"If confirmed, Mr. Wheeler will lead an agency tasked with addressing issues critical to our economy, including successful implementation of the first ever incentive auctions and promoting continued competition and investment in fixed and mobile broadband. Mr. Wheeler’s years of experience at the leading edge of communications policy will be a tremendous asset to the agency and the public interest. I thank Mr. Wheeler for his willingness to serve and look forward to working closely with him.
“I also congratulate Commissioner Clyburn on being named Acting Chair of the FCC," said Waxman. "She has been a dedicated advocate for consumers and competition during her tenure as FCC Commissioner and the agency will be in good hands with her at the helm.”