Current FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler on Thursday announced he is planning to leave the Commission in January, sparking a slew of mixed reactions from both industry players and consumer groups.
After the news broke, CCA President and CEO Steven Berry released a statement commending Wheeler on his “dedication to competition in the mobile ecosystem,” noting in particular his work on the ongoing 600 MHz spectrum auction.
“Establishing a spectrum reserve and facilitating a timely, safe, and efficient post-auction repack – as well as advancing other competitive policies including small geographic license sizes that provide all carriers an opportunity to acquire critical spectrum resources, will undoubtedly benefit the industry and more importantly, consumers,” Berry said. “Under his leadership, competitive carriers received greater clarity on how to facilitate competitive roaming arrangements to better serve consumers. Likewise, I thank the Chairman for his attention to adopting industry consensus proposals on nationwide non-geographic number portability, Hearing Aid Compatibility, the migration from TTY to RTT technology, and to Universal Service funding for wireless carriers, which I hope comes to fruition through bipartisan consensus in the days ahead.”
Similarly, Michael Calabrese, director of New America’s Wireless Future Project, heaped praise on Wheeler, observing he “did more to promote a productive and competitive wireless future for America than any previous chairman. He insisted that network neutrality should apply equally to mobile networks, he rejected mergers that would have reduced mobile market competition, and he opened huge new sources of wireless spectrum by pioneering the sharing of grossly underutilized frequency bands.”
But not everyone had glowing reviews of Wheeler’s three-year tenure.
The Taxpayer’s Protection Alliance, a “non-partisan organization” that has previously released statements opposing Wheeler’s Set-Top Box proposal and municipal broadband expansion, outright celebrated Wheeler’s exit.
“Taxpayers and consumers can finally breathe a sigh of relief that Wheeler is stepping down,” TPA President David Williams said in a statement. “Wheeler took a benign federal agency and turned into one of the most intrusive and regulatory driven agencies in history. From promulgating nonsensical net neutrality regulations that would have stymied the growth of the Internet or the ill-fated Set-Top Box plan to opposing free data for consumers, Wheeler was out of touch with consumers and reality.”
“TPA is excited for the possibility of FCC commissioner Ajit Pai to be the next FCC Chairman. TPA encourages Pai to help lead the FCC in a direction that encourages the growth of the Internet through free market reforms and less regulation,” Williams continued. “Wheeler’s departure should be the first step in reining in the FCC’s powers.”
Filed Under: Industry regulations