Wheeler Gets Big Welcome

Public-Interest Groups Weigh in on FCC Chairman Nomination; Salute Clyburn as Well

The president had hardly gotten the announcement out -- that he was nominating Tom Wheeler to be the next FCC chair and Mignon Clyburn to be interim chair -- when the electronic floodgates opened with comments from across the industry and public interest spectrum.

While such statements are unlikely to be too critical of a chairman they will need to work with, the tone was, for the most part, exceedingly positive. The following is just a sampling of the remarks.

"Tom has demonstrated strong leadership skills at a time of major change in the telecommunications, cable, and wireless industries," said Chris Dodd, president of the Motion Picture Association of America. "I look forward to working with Tom, an entrepreneur and experienced policy expert, to ensure the smooth delivery of American content over a variety of devices and networks, both here and abroad."

"NAB salutes president Obama's historic selection of Mignon Clyburn as acting chair of the FCC," the trade group said in a statement [it already weighed in on Wheeler the day before]. "Commissioner Clyburn is a trailblazer and role model for millions of women, and her commitment to serving the public interest is unquestioned."

"[Tom Wheeler's]is vast knowledge of the communications industry, as well as his proven leadership, will be invaluable as the Commission sets its course for our nation's digital future," noted Comcast chairman Brian Roberts. "We applaud President Obama's nomination and we look forward to working with the Commission under Tom's leadership. Further, we commend the President's appointment of Mignon Clyburn as Acting Chair of the FCC. She has distinguished herself in her service as a Commissioner over the past three and a half years, and has demonstrated that she is well-suited to lead the agency."

"Tom is a man of many talents and wide industry experience with whom I enjoyed working when I was commissioner and acting chair of the FCC," said Michael Copps, special adviser to Common Cause and former FCC acting chairman. "We did not always agree on the issues, but I appreciated his candor, knowledge, and ability to listen as well as to talk. Tom now has the opportunity to expand on his experience as an industry lobbyist to make policy that benefits all consumers and citizens. I also commend the president for his designation of commissioner Mignon Clyburn as acting chairwoman of the FCC.  I was privileged to be her colleague and to work in concert with her across a broad gamut of issues.  Her commitment to expanding diversity across our communications platforms to reflect the wondrous diversity of our nation has been especially remarkable, and having her at the helm encourages my hopes for needed progress in this critically-important area."

"I've known Tom Wheeler for many years, and he is an inspired pick to lead the FCC," said AT&T senior executive vice president Jim Cicconi. "Mr. Wheeler's combination of high intelligence, broad experience, and in-depth knowledge of the industry may, in fact, make him one of the most qualified people ever named to run the agency. I also want to congratulate Mignon Clyburn, who will take over as interim-chair of the FCC. She's an experienced and independent policymaker, passionate about public service, who will lead the agency over the coming months with a steady hand.

"We applaud the president for selecting Tom Wheeler to be the next Chairman of the FCC," said The Broadband Coalition. "Tom brings real world experience that will be a tremendous asset to the agency and the American public. He led the wireless industry in the 1990s, when the industry was experiencing an explosion of innovation and competition, so he understands the benefits of a healthy competitive market....As a commissioner, Mignon [Clyburn] has been an advocate for competition and an experienced voice for businesses at the commission. She understands what small businesses need to thrive and create jobs."

"At a time when communications innovation evolves at lightning speed, Tom has proven consistently to be a visionary thought-leader about our nation's mobile future," said Jonathan Spalter, chairman of Mobile Future. "We urge the Senate to move forward to confirm him as quickly as possible. As the confirmation process goes forward, we look forward to working with Commissioner Clyburn as Interim Chair."

"Mr. Wheeler's experience makes him uniquely qualified to help modernize FCC policies so they encourage the massive investments in broadband infrastructure our economy needs, and on which the American people depend," said Broadband for America cochairs Harold Ford Jr. and John Sununu. "Also, Broadband for America welcomes the president's nomination of Commissioner Mignon Clyburn as Interim Chair and we look forward to working with her at this important time."

"Tom Wheeler is well-equipped to lead the Federal Communications Commission during a time that is crucial to the continued expansion and advancement of Internet technology," said the Internet Innovation Alliance. "In this new role, we hope he focuses on enabling the infrastructure investments required to put high-speed broadband access in the hands of more Americans. This resource is critical for education, health and entrepreneurship, and government and business must work together to increase its availability.

"As the leadership transition at the FCC takes shape, we look forward to our continued work with FCC commissioner Mignon Clyburn who has been named interim Chair of the Commission. Her strong vision and focus on driving programs that will help bring high-speed broadband to more Americans is critical to the Administration's technology policy goals."

"Mr. Wheeler's experience with the 2009 digital television transition demonstrates that he understands the need to work collaboratively with a broad range of stakeholders, including the civil rights, consumer, and public interest communities," said the Civil and Human Rights Coalition. "We are optimistic that this understanding will carry over to his tenure as FCC Chair, and look forward to learning more about his vision for an inclusive Commission that meets the communications needs of all Americans."