New FCC Commissioners Named By Obama
This past Monday President Obama designated two new names to the FCC (Federal Communications Commission):
- Republican Ajit Varadaraj
- Democrat Jessica Rosenworcel
With these nominations, it brings some relatively young, however, quite experienced telecom policy experts to the FCC, which is an agency that’s attempting to redefine themselves in this age of the Internet. Both of Obamas nominees to the FCC are known very well for their Capital Hill experience, as well as their experience being legal advisors to the agency.
Nominations have to go before the Senate prior to being confirmed. It’s expected that this nomination process will be within a matter of weeks.
Assuming the two nominees get approval, they’ll both become commissioners on the 5-member agency as the Federal Communications Commission begins their transition their policies into the Internet and broadband communications and away from the legacy telecom services.
Just this past week, the FCC voted to renovate the federal funds $4.5 billion dollar purse for the from the traditional telecom phone service and into an innovative program that will dole out funds to private firms in order to provide rural areas with broadband service.
FCC Chairman Genachowski is working toward creating auctions, voluntary in nature, of broadcast airwaves in order to have additional mobile broadband spectrum created.
The efforts of the FCC aren’t without challenges legally. The most notable legal challenge is over the rule approval, last December, of net neutrality. Net neutrality regulations have drawn lawsuits by both Metro PCS and Verizon, both companies to state that the FCC overstepped their mission through integration of rules on how ISPs (Internet Service Providers) treat content delivery on their network. A separate lawsuit was filed by Free Press, a public interest group, which states that the rules actually don’t go far enough and the FCC needs to broaden the regulations to also include wireless ISPs.
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