It’s not often (okay, it’s never) that we report news that isn’t quite real yet, but this seems like a done deal except for the most important part: the official announcement. Sometime today (and probably right after you receive this email), it’s expected that the White House will nominate cable/wireless/financial/Obama insider Tom Wheeler to be the next FCC chairman (CTDaily, 04/15/13). Commissioner Mignon Clyburn is predicted to be named interim chair until the Senate confirms the former NCTA/CTIA head. The pre-announcement industry reactions have been pouring in, and not all of them are complimentary. Here are a few:

  • Rob Atkinson, president, Information Technology and Innovation Foundation: “Wheeler is one of America’s broadband pioneers. His experience in the formative years of the cable and mobile industries gives him a unique perspective on the challenges facing technology businesses that will prove very helpful in his new role.”
  • Jane Fonda, Robin Morgan and Gloria Steinem, co-founders, Women’s Media Center: “We regret that President Obama did not recognize the need for a woman leader in this important FCC chair slot, though there were a number of highly qualified women under consideration…Telecommunications policy affects everyone — not just men. It’s disheartening to see the cycle of male chairs continuing…The president missed an opportunity to make history and make the FCC more democratic.”
  • Grant Seiffert, president, TIA: “(Wheeler) has the proven ability to transcend a broad range of industry perspectives to reach balanced outcomes. Given that one of the most important challenges facing the FCC will be assuring a successful television spectrum incentive auction, Wheeler’s breadth of experience makes him especially well-suited to lead the FCC at this time.”
  • Sascha Meinrath, vice president, New America Foundation and vice president/director of New America’s Open Technology Institute: “The next FCC chairman will need to make substantial and meaningful reforms to promote universal access to affordable broadband, restore robust competition, and encourage the implementation of world class broadband networks. I am skeptical that the former chief lobbyist of the wireless and cable industries will be capable of holding his former clients accountable for their ongoing shortcomings.”

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