Following a clipped FCC meeting on Thursday, Chairman Tom Wheeler dodged reporter questions on his impending departure and noted the Commission has had no communication with the President-elect’s transition team.
Peppered by inquiries about his plans for after the Obama administration leaves office, Wheeler said he had not yet decided on a date to step down as Chairman. Wheeler also sidestepped a question about whether he intended to remain on the commission after resigning his chairmanship to preserve a 2-2 vote should Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel fail to receive confirmation for a second term before the end of the year.
Part of the reason for Wheeler’s slipperiness here could be the fact that the Commission so far is in the dark about President-elect Trump’s plans.
“Let me be real specific: We have had no conversations with the Trump administration transition people,” Wheeler said in response to several questions about communication from Trump’s team. “We are working with the transition structure that was set up by the Obama administration to begin the groundwork but we have heard nothing (from Trump’s staff).”
Though Thursday’s meeting was an abbreviated version of what was originally planned thanks to pressure from Republicans both in Congress and on the Commission itself, Wheeler said he still held hope action on the cut Business Data Services, roaming, and Mobility Fund items could be achieved.
“I hope we will continue to be able to do some things on circulation, these all remain on circulation,” he said. “I sure hope we can get ‘em done.”
With an incoming Republican administration, some analysts have noted many of the Commission’s biggest – and most controversial – actions from Wheeler’s tenure could be undone. However, Wheeler on Thursday said removing the protections and regulations put into place under his watch would be a “mistake.”
“I think it’s an important thing to remember that taking a fast, fair, and open Internet away from the public and away from those who use it to offer innovative new services to the public would be a real mistake,” he said. “That taking away network privacy that consumers enjoy as a result of our decision would be a real mistake. That taking away connecting everyone whether you’re a school, a library, a low income American, or a person in jail, that taking that away would be a real mistake. And the taking away the concept that the American economy works best when there is competition, competition, competition would be a real mistake.”
Filed Under: Industry regulations