Senate confirms Tom Wheeler as FCC's new chairman [telecom]

By Steven Musil, CNET, October 29, 2013

Wheeler unanimously confirmed after Sen. Ted Cruz lifts objection over concerns about Wheeler's views on greater campaign finance regulations.

Tom Wheeler, a former telecommunications lobbyist, was unanimously confirmed as the new chairman of the FCC late Tuesday, according to The Hill.


Wheeler was nominated in May by President Obama to replace Julius Genachowski, who had headed up the agency since

2009. Since Genachowski's departure, Mignon Clyburn has been serving as acting FCC Chairwoman.

Wheeler has been around telecommunications policy circles for years and has served as a lobbyist for the cable industry's trade group, the National Cable and Telecommunications Association, and the wireless industry's trade association, CTIA-The Wireless Association. He spent

12 years as the head of the CTIA. He also has policy experience within the government, working as a member of the FCC's Technological Advisory Council.


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This article briefly mentions Wheeler's association with "the cable industry's trade group, the National Cable and Telecommunications Association." My recollection is that Wheeler served as president of the association, then known as the "National Cable Television Association." During those years, the industry was in continuous legal disputes with the broadcast industry over carriage rights and with copyright owners alleging infringement.

One of Wheeler's most vocal opponents was Jack Valenti, at the time president of the Motion Picture Association of America. Valenti claimed that cable TV companies were infringing on copyrighted motion pictures by retransmitting them without paying royalties.

Valenti even wrote a book about it. In one famous encounter, Wheeler and Valenti were both speakers on an industry panel. When the came time for Wheeler to speak, he began by congratulating Valenti on his new book. In fact, he said (pulling out a stack of papers) "I liked it so much that I xeroxed it!"

Neal McLain

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Neal McLain
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