Trump Nominates Pai Ally for Final FCC Slot

President Trump's latest nomination to the FCC puts the agency on a path to full strength after months of operating with only three out of five commissioners. If confirmed, candidate Brendan Carr would serve as the third Republican on the Commission, alongside Chairman Ajit Pai and Commissioner Michael O'Rielly.

On the Democratic side, Commissioner Mignon Clyburn is currently in office, although her term officially expires at the end of this month, with no word yet on whether she will be re-nominated to a new five-year term. Two weeks ago, Trump also nominated former Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel to re-take her seat next to Clyburn as the second Democratic representative to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) . Rosenworcel's earlier term at the agency expired last December when the Senate failed to vote on her re-nomination. However, the commissioner is well-liked on both sides of the political aisle, with Democrats and Republicans alike expressing support for her return. (See Trump Names Democratic FCC Choice.)

Speaking of support, Brendan Carr has already received the backing of several industry representatives since his nomination was announced, including Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK), the NCTA – The Internet & Television Association and the American Cable Association (ACA) , among others. All three current commissioners have also voiced their support for Carr, who is well known at the FCC and throughout telecom legal circles. Carr is currently general counsel at the FCC and has served as legal advisor to Commissioner Pai on wireless, public safety and international matters. Prior to working at the FCC, Carr was a telecom attorney at Wiley Rein LLP.

The current slate of FCC Commissioners: Mignon Clyburn, Michael O'Rielly and Ajit Pai
The current slate of FCC Commissioners: Mignon Clyburn, Michael O'Rielly and Ajit Pai

Whatever the exact make-up of the FCC going forward, the agency has a complex and controversial agenda ahead of it. Republicans are seeking to roll back the former Democratic administration's Open Internet Order, which both enshrined net neutrality practices and strengthened their enforcement through the re-categorization of broadband service providers as Title II common carriers. The goal of the current administration at the FCC is to reverse Title II classification and return enforcement duties over the industry to the Federal Trade Commission . However, consumer groups are furiously fighting the move because of concerns about how ISPs might abuse their power as both broadband service providers and content owners. (See Net Neutrality: Before the Vote.)

Net neutrality is the highest-profile issue faced by the FCC this year, but it's not the only one that's sparking lively debate. The Broadband Deployment Advisory Committee at the agency is in the process of trying to craft recommendations for how to accelerate broadband deployment throughout the country. At stake is one of the least sexy, though most critical, broadband deployment considerations: how to streamline pole attachment processes so that ISPs can move quickly to install new equipment for broadband access, while also protecting cities that have to manage many of those assets and depend on leasing fees as local revenue. (See Cities Clamor for More Clout at FCC .)

— Mari Silbey, Senior Editor, Cable/Video, Light Reading

brooks7 7/6/2017 | 9:23:03 AM
Re: Sometimes...  


I have never met a good FCC commissioner nor a good politiciian.  You are now defending them by declaring the wondourous nature of Lawyers.

Joe Stanganelli 7/5/2017 | 9:32:17 PM
Re: Sometimes... @brooks:

> FCC Commissioners are political appointees.  This makes them the scum

I'm curious. Judges in many jurisdictions (not to mention federal judges) are political appointees as well. Would you argue the same there? If so, would you argue that judges in jurisdictions where they are elected are inherently "purer" than appointed judges? Do you think having a lifetime appointment as opposed to a fixed-term appointment makes a difference?

> All of them have preconceived notions that have nothing to do with what is good for the country.

As opposed to voters? ;)

I think, as with just about any profession, there are good ones and there are bad ones.
brooks7 7/2/2017 | 1:43:46 AM
Re: Sometimes... FCC Commissioners are political appointees.  This makes them the scum that beg for favor jobs from the dung that is politicians.  All of them have preconceived notions that have nothing to do with what is good for the country.  It is only about what is good for their next appointment or election.


Joe Stanganelli 7/2/2017 | 12:56:25 AM
Re: Sometimes... @msilbey: A rather jaded and uncharitable view, IMHO, to necessarily link professional background to "loyalties" or interpretations of regulations and the law.

Wheeler, who pushed through the 2015 Open Internet Order, was President of the National Cable & Telecommunications Association -- the major trade lobby for cable operators and telcos -- for five years.

Wheeler's predecessor, Julius Genachowski, who pushed through the 2010 Open Internet Order (the one that got struck down by the courts and had to be replaced by the 2015 Open Internet Order), made millions of dollars hand over fist working as general counsel for IAC/InterActiveCorp</a>—Barry Diller's media giant.

And Jessica Rosenworcel, who consistently voted with the liberal Wheeler-Clyburn block during the Obama Administration (and whose original hearings for admission to the FCC coincided with Pai's), was an attorney at DC law firm Drinker Biddle & Reath</a>, where she practiced communications law and worked on matters for telecom clients—including the privatization and merger of a telco that was, at the time, state-owned.

And these are just three recent examples off the top of my head.

Reasonable minds differ on the law and on regulation. Contrary to popular belief, not everything that happens in D.C. is about a war between the blindly money-hungry and the altruistic martyrs.
brooks7 6/30/2017 | 12:07:13 PM
Re: Sometimes... Kb,

It has never been that way at the Commissioners...hell its barely that way at the Staff.


mendyk 6/30/2017 | 9:44:10 AM
Re: Sometimes... Also, I guess there were no more wedding planners available to fill this important position.
msilbey 6/30/2017 | 9:27:09 AM
Re: Sometimes... Always good to dream. But the broader issue is that it's the folks who work in telecom and in telecom law who are the ones with the experience and connections to get these jobs. It's not like there are well-paid lawyers who know the ins and outs off telecom law because they spend their days fighting against it. Hence it's typically pro-telecom lawyers who end up in positions of greater power. Quite the cycle.
KBode 6/30/2017 | 8:44:56 AM
Sometimes... Sometimes I daydream about an FCC stocked with intelligent engineers, visionaires, ethicists, and other experts focused on the betterment of the nation instead of a rotating crop of partisan idealogues myopically loyal to one subset of companies or another. 
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