May 2, 2013
White House to Name Wheeler to Be Chairman of U.S. FCC
President Barack Obama will name Tom Wheeler, a top campaign fundraiser and former leader of wireless- and cable-industry groups, to head the U.S. Federal Communications Commission.
Wheeler, managing director at Core Capital Partners LP in Washington, would succeed Chairman Julius Genachowski, a Democrat who has pushed to expand access to high-speed Internet service, said a White House official who asked not to be named because the appointment hasn’t been announced.
Wheeler’s appointment will be announced by the White House today, the official said. Genachowski on March 22 announced his departure from the post he has held since 2009.
Wheeler needs Senate confirmation before joining the independent agency that regulates broadcasters, cable companies and telephone-service providers.
Mignon Clyburn, the commission’s senior Democrat, will be acting chairwoman until Wheeler’s confirmation.
Wheeler would arrive with a public record on some issues. As president of a wireless trade group, Wheeler in 2001 pushed to eliminate limits on how many airwaves a company can hold in a given city. The FCC is considering whether to revise the limits.
Responding to research indicating possible cancer risks from mobile-phone use, Wheeler in 1999 said responsible scientific studies hadn’t found a connection. The FCC is studying whether U.S. standards need to be updated to protect people from radiation emitted from a phone’s radio signals.
Wheeler in 2011 wrote the U.S. could let AT&T Inc. (T) buy smaller wireless competitor T-Mobile USA Inc. by putting conditions on the deal. The FCC and Justice Department opposed the merger, and AT&T abandoned it.
Also see Microwave News from April 2, 2013: News & Comment
Cell Phone Carriers & the FCC: Cozy & Colluding, An Industry Insider Speaks Out