Industry Weighs In On New FCC Members - Broadcasting & Cable

Industry Weighs In On New FCC Members

Mix of welcome and advice for Wheeler, O’Rielly
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UPDATED: Oct. 30 11 a.m. ET
RELATED: Wheeler, O'Rielly Confirmed

Industry players wasted no time welcoming Tom Wheeler to the chairmanship of the FCC and Michael O'Rielly to the Republican seat on Oct. 29. The Senate moved swiftly to confirm the two after Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.) lifted his hold on the nomination.

O'Rielly had been approved unanimously by the Senate Commerce Committee and only Cruz' "no" vote had prevented Wheeler from unanimous approval.

With a clean slate to work with, some groups looked forward to a chairman who squared with their policy agendas while others simply put out the welcome mat.

"We congratulate Tom Wheeler on his confirmation as Chairman of the FCC," said Comcast Corp. Chairman and CEO Brian Roberts. "The agency and the American people will be well-served by his proven leadership and in-depth knowledge of the communications industry. We also congratulate Michael O’Rielly on his confirmation as FCC Commissioner. He has an exceptional record of public service and we are fortunate that he will be joining the Commission. We applaud the Senate for approving these excellent members of the FCC and look forward to working with all the members of the Commission in the days ahead.”

“I congratulate Tom Wheeler and Michael O’Rielly on their Senate confirmations,” said acting FCC chairwoman Mignon Clyburn. “Tom brings a tremendous depth of experience, talent, and knowledge that will serve him well as the leader of this critically important agency. I have no doubt that he will be an outstanding FCC Chairman. With his extensive public policy expertise and understanding of the communications landscape, Michael will certainly be an invaluable asset to the Commission.

“The FCC family enthusiastically welcomes both Tom and Michael. I look forward to working with them, along with my current colleagues at the Commission, to further communications policies that advance the public interest, bolster competition, empower consumers, and spur new waves of innovation that grow our economy and create jobs.”

"NAB strongly supported the nominations of both Tom Wheeler and Michael O'Rielly and we are pleased with their confirmation," said National Association of Broadcasters President and CEO Gordon Smith. "We also salute the superb job done by Mignon Clyburn during her tenure as acting chair."

"Broadcasters look forward to working with a full complement of commissioners in the months and years ahead. Local radio and TV stations will continue our evolution to new distribution platforms, mindful that broadcasting remains an indispensable source of news, entertainment and lifeline information to communities across America."

“We congratulate Tom Wheeler and Mike O’Rielly on their confirmations to serve on the Federal Communications Commission and look forward to working with them in their new positions," said National Cable & Telecommunications Association President and CEO Michael Powell.

"Both individuals bring an abundance of experience and deep knowledge of media, technology and telecommunications that will serve them well as the Commission considers important policy issues," said Powell, in reference to Wheeler's previous role as NCTA president and O'Rielly's work as a long time Hill aide. "With the Commission soon to be at full strength, we would also be remiss not to complement Acting Commissioner Mignon Clyburn for her steady hands and for the significant contributions made by the FCC under her watch. We look forward to working with all Commissioners as we begin a new chapter with a new Chairman."

"Public Knowledge looks forward to working with Chairman Wheeler. We expect that he will work to preserve a strong FCC that will ensure an open, universally accessible and affordable communications system that serves all Americans," said Public Knowledge President and Cofounder Gigi Sohn. "We also expect that he will carry out the President’s communications policy agenda, which includes robust open Internet requirements, vigorous broadband competition, affordable broadband access, diversity of voices and serious consumer protections, all backed by vigorous agency enforcement."

“On behalf of CTIA member companies, I wish to extend my congratulations to Tom and Mike on their Senate confirmation," said CTIA President and CEO Steve Largent. "Tom’s deep knowledge of communications issues [Wheeler is former head of CTIA], strong leadership and clarity of vision in the dynamically changing communications sector will benefit consumers and the economy as we migrate to an increasingly mobile world. Mike also brings an impressive depth of experience in telecommunications, and an appreciation of the important role that wireless broadband plays in driving wireless investment and innovation.

“We also wish to thank Mignon Clyburn for her tenure at the helm of the Commission over the past several months," Largent added. "We appreciate her work to maintain the agency’s course in promoting and advancing key wireless priorities, including spectrum and infrastructure.

“Verizon congratulates Mr. Wheeler and Mr. O’Rielly on the confirmation of their nominations to the FCC," said Randal Milch, Verizon’s executive VP of public policy. "There are a number of pressing policy issues in the communications space that must be addressed, not the least of which are the upcoming spectrum auctions. We now look forward to working with Chairman Wheeler and a full commission to shape 21st century, pro-consumer policies for the highly innovative broadband and wireless marketplaces. We also want to thank FCC Acting Chair Clyburn for her strong and highly productive leadership over the past five months.”

“ACA congratulates Chairman Wheeler and Commissioner O’Rielly on their Senate confirmation this evening. We look forward to working with them as well as Commissioners Jessica Rosenworcel and Ajit Pai on addressing the critical communications policy issues facing the country,” said American Cable Association President and CEO Matt Polka. “We also look forward to continuing our constructive relationship with Commissioner Mignon Clyburn, who deserves special praise for keeping the FCC’s agenda on track while serving as Acting Chairwoman these past few months.”

Free Press suggested Wheeler could take a page from Clyburn's leadership over her brief tenure in the big chair.

"We look forward to working with the new chairman and the newest commissioner to create an FCC that actually looks out for the public interest," said Free Press President Craig Aaron. "We had plenty of questions about the choice of Mr. Wheeler, but what matters is what you do once you're sitting in the big chair. And there is a lot to do: connecting all Americans to the wonders of the open Internet, encouraging meaningful competition, diversifying media ownership, and making sure that this crucial agency has the power to protect people everywhere when predatory or powerful corporations step over the line.

"Mr. Wheeler has an opportunity to transform the media, technology and this agency for the better," added Aaron. "But that will require a different approach to this powerful pulpit from most of the chairmen who came before him. The new chairman has been in Washington for many years, and we hope one of the first things he will do is commit to going outside the Beltway, getting away from the lobbyists, and meeting face-to-face with the American people.

"We also congratulate Acting Chairwoman Mignon Clyburn for her exemplary leadership at the agency these past few months," he continued. "She accomplished a great deal in a short time and engaged a wide range of stakeholders. Her approach should be a model for Mr. Wheeler."

“Tom Wheeler arrives at the FCC at a critical moment," said Mobile Future Chair Jonathan Spalter. "With consumer demand for mobile connections skyrocketing and mobile data usage 10 times more than when the last chairman took office, it is essential that he, along with Mike O'Rielly and the rest of the Commission, act quickly -- and wisely -- not only to ensure that adequate spectrum will be available for our citizens, but also to support the seamless and necessary transition of our society and economy to an all-IP future.  American innovation depends on it. We congratulate both and look forward to working with them toward these goals.”

"Congratulations to two highly qualified appointees," said Expanding Opportunities for Broadcasters Coalition Executive Director Preston Padden. "Let the Incentive Auction begin."

"We extend our sincere congratulations to Tom Wheeler for his Senate confirmation to be chairman of the Federal Communications Commission and Mike O'Rielly to serve as commissioner," said USTelecom President Walter B. McCormick Jr. "Both nominees are highly qualified for their positions and we look forward to working with them on the critical issues that face the nation's communications industry and consumers. We also appreciate the leadership of Acting Chairwoman Mignon Clyburn over the course of the last few months and hope to keep building on the relationship we have developed during her tenure."

“Charter congratulates Tom Wheeler on his confirmation as Chairman of the FCC and Mike O’Reilly on his confirmation as Commissioner," said Charter President and CEO Tom Rutledge. "Both individuals bring depth of knowledge and experience to a Commission facing a complex and evolving communications landscape. Charter looks forward to working with them and the entire Commission to advance competition and economic growth.”

The welcome mat for new FCC chairman Tom Wheeler and Republican commissioner Michael O'Rielly continued to roll out late Tuesday and early Oct. 30 after both got a whirlwind confirmation vote in the Senate Tuesday night.

FCC Commissioner Ajit Pai

"I congratulate Tom
Wheeler and Mike O'Rielly on the Senate's confirmation of their
nominations to serve on the Federal Communications Commission. The fresh
perspectives and experience they bring to the agency will assist our
efforts to promote innovation and investment in the communications
marketplace. I look forward to working with Tom in his new role as
Chairman and with Mike as a fellow Commissioner as we confront the many
challenging issues ahead. I also commend Chairwoman Clyburn for her
leadership of the agency over the course of the past several months."

CEA

"We
applaud the Senate on the confirmations of FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler and
FCC Commissioner Mike O'Rielly. Chairman Wheeler takes the helm of the
FCC at a critical time where action is required to reallocate spectrum
for wireless broadband and other services," said Consumer Electronics
Association President Gary Shapiro. "Our nation needs strong FCC
leadership to make this goal a reality. CEA and its more than 2,000
member technology companies look forward to working with Chairman
Wheeler, Commissioner O'Rielly and the full FCC on spectrum reallocation
and other issues vital to innovation and our nation. We thank and
congratulate Acting Chairwoman Clyburn for her terrific, honorable and
exemplary leadership as Acting Chairwoman."

T-Mobile SVP
Tom Sugrue issued three separate statements covering all the bases. On
Wheeler: "[He] has been a strong voice in the telecom field for over 30
years and we believe his creative talents and thoughtful leadership are
just what the doctor ordered to propel additional expansion of mobile
broadband and ensure a competitive wireless marketplace for years to
come." On O'Rielly: "His deep experience and expertise in technology
issues will be an asset, particularly as the Commission moves to place
more spectrum into the market. On exiting acting chairwoman Mignon
Clyburn: "T-Mobile applauds Mignon Clyburn on her successful term as
Acting Chairwoman of the FCC. Clyburn has been a vocal advocate for
competition in the wireless space, most notably by negotiating a
successful end to the 700 MHz interoperability challenge. We look
forward to continuing to work with her on matters of importance to
wireless competition and consumers."

Broadband Coalition

Chip
Pickering, spokesman for the Broadband Coalition (competitive business
broadband [special access] providers), put in a pitch for competitive
acces to advanced services.

"With Tom Wheeler at the helm, the
FCC will shift into high gear. The Broadband Coalition strongly believes
in policies that protect and preserve the future of competition, access
and innovation.  We look forward to working with Chairman Wheeler, new
Commissioner Michael O'Rielly and the entire FCC toward these goals.

"The
Broadband Coalition would also like to praise the work of interim
Chairperson Mignon Clyburn. She has proven herself to be a true defender
of competition. A genuine consensus builder who helped move the agenda
forward with a keen eye toward technology that lifts all boats for
consumers.

"Chairman Wheeler will serve the FCC at a time of
unparalleled technological change. Affordable rates and access to
networks have enabled the competitive community to bring new innovations
to market, including VoIP, Ethernet and the cloud."

ATVA

The
American Television Alliance, a coalition of cable ops, satellite
companies and others, which has been pushing for retrans reform,  said
that the "experience and backgrounds of both men make them excellent
additions to the Commission and all Americans stand to benefit from
their service."

Broadband for America

Broadband
for America said that their "experience makes them uniquely qualified
to help modernize FCC policies so they continue to encourage the massive
private investment in broadband infrastructure our economy needs, and
on which the American people depend. We thank acting Chairwoman Clyburn
for her productive leadership over the past several months. We look
forward to working with Mr. Wheeler and Mr. O'Rielly to ensure that the
FCC's policies continue to encourage the type of private investment and
innovation that has made the Internet revolution possible."

Free State Foundation

"I
am pleased that the Senate has confirmed Tom Wheeler and Michael
O'Rielly as FCC Commissioners, and I wish them well as they assume their
new positions," said Randolph May, president of the Free State
Foundation, which has been seeking free market-oriented regulatory
reform.

"With a new Chairman and Commissioner on board,
the FCC will have a full complement of commissioners for the first time
in many months. The agency has important work to do, most especially in
accelerating the transition to digital broadband networks and in
conducting a successful spectrum incentive auction.

"With
a newly reconstituted set of commissioners, and a new Chairman, the FCC
has an opportunity to reorient itself away from its legacy
pro-regulatory mindset. The Commission has an opportunity to recognize,
more than it has in the past, the power of marketplace competition to
protect consumers and stimulate investment and innovation. It should
seize the opportunity."

PTC

The
Parents Television Council pointed out that both Wheeler and O'Rielly
indicated in their nomination hearings that they would enforce indecency
laws, and PTC "now expect[s] them to fulfill their promise."

"We
expect that they will put the interests of children and families first
as they work on broadcast indecency issues," said PTC. "We know that Mr.
Wheeler agrees with millions of Americans that there's an indecency
problem on the public airwaves. As the leader of the FCC, we trust that
he will enforce the current law as he is obliged to do," said PTC
President Tim Winter."

Rep. Matsui

"I
congratulate Tom Wheeler on his confirmation as our next FCC Chairman,"
said Rep. Doris Matsui (D-Calif.).  "Tom brings a wealth of knowledge
and experience to the FCC that will be important for addressing many of
the challenges facing America's innovation economy.  Among other issues,
I look forward to working closely with him to meet our spectrum
demands, both with the upcoming incentive auction and through the
auction of the 1755-1780MHz band, and continuing to address our nation's
digital divide.

"I would also like to commend Mignon
Clyburn for her strong leadership at the FCC during the interim period. 
She worked diligently and moved forward many important issues impacting
competition and innovation in the marketplace."

NARUC

"On behalf of our nation's State regulators, we would like to congratulate Mr. Wheeler and Mr. O'Rielly on their

confirmations,"
said National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners (NARUC)
President Philip Jones. "They are joining the FCC as the agency faces
numerous important decisions that will profoundly impact the
telecommunications marketplace. A strong federal-State partnership is
essential to ensure market competitiveness and strong consumer
protections. We look forward to working with Mr. Wheeler, Mr. O'Rielly,
and Commissioners Clyburn, Rosenworcel, and Pai.

"On a
personal note, we'd like to thank and applaud Acting Chair Clyburn. She
addressed several tough issues during her chairmanship, most notably
inmate calling reform and call-completion problems. She has always
served our nation well, and in her role as Chair she leaves a lasting
legacy. There is no doubt consumers are better off because of her
service."

AT&T

"I
commend the Senate for approving the nominations of Tom Wheeler for
Chairman and Michael O'Rielly as Commissioner of the FCC. Both are
widely respected for their experience and knowledge in communications
issues," said AT&T SVP James Cicconi.

"There's no
doubt that this FCC possesses the skills and leadership to tackle the
major issues facing our industry, first and foremost the transition to
next-generation, Internet-enabled services and networks. All of us at
AT&T are excited to see both positions confirmed. We know all five
commissioners will play a key role at this pivotal time in the FCC's
history.

"I would also like to commend Acting Chairwoman
Clyburn for her superb work in leading the agency over the past several
months. She has guided the agency with skill and care, and has a track
record of significant accomplishments in a very short time. That's
impressive for any chairman, and I know she'll continue to contribute to
the FCC's success."

MMTC

"Tom
Wheeler is known for his integrity and fair-mindedness," said MMTC
President David Honig stated. "With his leadership, we are certain that
diversity, equal opportunity, and inclusion will be top priorities at
the FCC. We look forward to working closely with him and the
commissioners to advance minority participation in the nation's most
influential industries."

"MMTC warmly commends Mignon
Clyburn for her extraordinary achievements as Acting Chairwoman. Last
week she took steps to overturn the antiquated, 101-year-old rule
barring foreign investors from owning more than a 25% stake in a
domestic broadcast station, which hampers minority entrepreneurship in
broadcasting." 

COMPTEL

[We]
congratulate Mr. Wheeler and Mr. O'Rielly on their confirmations to the
FCC," said COMPTEL, which represents competitive communications
carriers. "We look forward to working with them and the full Commission
as they continue to focus on issues that are critical to preserving and
promoting competition in the communications industry, such as
modernizing the agency's last mile access policies, finalizing special
access reform and promoting IP interconnection for voice services.
COMPTEL is confident that the Commission, under Mr. Wheeler's
leadership, will strive to ensure consumers have access to the provider
of their choice, which will spur investment, advance innovation,
stimulate the U.S. economy and generate more American jobs.

We
also would like to thank Chairwoman Clyburn for her leadership at the
agency. Her commitment to fostering competition and protecting consumers
has been evident throughout her tenure."

Rep. Henry Waxman

Ranking House Energy & Commerce Committee member Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) added his congratulations for the newcommissioners, and for clyburn's stewardship.

"I congratulate Tom Wheeler and Mike O'Reilly on their confirmation to serve on the Federal Communications Commission(FCC). The FCC has an ambitious agenda ahead of it, including first and foremost successful implementation of theworld's first ever broadcast incentive auctions. I look forward to working closely with Chairman Wheeler and all ofthe Commissioners to enhance competition, promote innovation and above all else, protect American consumers.

I also thank Acting Chairwoman Clyburn for her leadership of the FCC over the past several months. From tackling theexorbitant rates for inmate calling to addressing interoperability in the lower 700 MHz band, she has been a championof the public interest and a steady steward of the agency at a critical time."

GPS Innovation Alliance

"The GPS Innovation Alliance - launched early this year to ensure constructive, robust dialog between GPS users, GPSmanufacturers, and policymakers on critical issues affecting GPS - looks forward to working with Chairman Wheeler. Few technologies are more ubiquitous in everyday life than GPS. Chairman Wheeler has a long and deep involvement in thecommunications industry and the GPS Innovation Alliance is pleased that he will be able to bring those experiences tothe ongoing efforts to ensure the continued success and growth of the GPS industry. "

Open Technology Institute

Not all the comments were open-arms welcomes. "I remain skeptical of Tom Wheeler's history as the former chief

lobbyist for both the cable and wireless industries and maintain concern about how he'll steer the FCC in the comingyears," said Sascha Meinrath, director of the Institute and VP of the New America Foundation. "The FCC will beoverseeing decisions on several major issues, from who has access to high quality broadband to how much we pay forcommunications to how to create a meaningfully competitive broadband market. In an era when access to high quality, affordable broadband has become a basic need for anyone wanting to fully participate in today's economy, it isespecially problematic to see the U.S. fall behind a growing list of other countries in broadband availability, price,and speed. The burden is now on Tom Wheeler to demonstrate that he will address these critical issues.

The OpenTechnology Institute will work with Chairman Wheeler whenever possible, and critique bad decision-making whenevernecessary."

Internet Innovation Alliance

In addition to welcoming the pair, the Internet Innovation Alliance had a to-do list prepared. "We urge Wheeler and O'Rielly to quickly roll up their sleeves on the IP transition, spectrum policy and ConnectED. To jumpstart network modernization, the Commission should give the green light on IP trials that will pave the way for a smooth transition

to next-generation networks. With wireless users multiplying and available spectrum at a standstill, it's critical that more spectrum be made available for commercial mobile services in short order, before demand hurdles supply. TheFCC should take swift action to conduct open incentive auctions, approve secondary market transactions, and  repurposefederal spectrum.

"And for the benefit of communities across the nation, Wheeler and O'Rielly should crystalize a vision for ConnectEd, an initiative that should help ensure access to high-speed broadband for our nation's students both at school and at home. Technology is the fuel of the modern economic engine."

CWA

"The Communications Workers of America commends the U.S. Senate confirmation of Tom Wheeler to head the FederalCommunications Commission. CWA looks forward to working with Mr. Wheeler on critical policy issues in thetelecommunications industry, including affordable high-speed Internet access and how FCC policy should help createstable and quality employment in the industry."

PCIA: THe Wireless Infrastructure Association

"Tom Wheeler is principled, experienced, strategic and decisive-all qualities of an effective leader for the FCC,"

said Jonathan Adelstein, president of PCIA and a former FCC commissioner. "His proven management skills and ability to"move the meter" will benefit the FCC enormously as it addresses a variety of issues critical to the future of thenation's communications networks-including wireless networks-as consumers continue to demand more and more data on the go.

"Mike O'Rielly's in-depth knowledge of communications issues, coupled with his extensive public service experience make him an ideal commissioner. Personally, having come from a Senate leadership staff myself, I think that is excellent preparation for the challenges facing an FCC Commissioner.

"Mignon Clyburn's deft leadership of the FCC over the past several months has been characterized by  thoughtfulness and determination. Her accomplishments as Acting Chair are numerous, especially in light of her a short tenure. PCIA isparticularly grateful for her focus on wireless infrastructure issues, which will have positive implications forconsumers and businesses for years to come.

Michael Copps

"The Federal Communications Commission confronts many pressing priorities, and will benefit from their combined yearsof expertise and public service," said Mike Copps, special adviser to Common Cause's Media and Democracy ReformInitiative and a former FCC members himself. "The full Commission should now pursue priorities include promoting media diversity and localism; achieving universal, affordable telecommunications, and making political ad disclosure throughS. 317 a reality.

"Today I also recognize Mignon Clyburn's impressive tenure as Acting Chairwoman.: Copps should know. He was actingchair between chairs Kevin Martin and Julius Genachowski, where he presided over the DTV switch among other credits.

United Church of Christ Office of Communications

"Mr. Wheeler brings decades of experience from all sectors of the communications industry and an expressed commitment to important public interest values such as universal service and competition. Because of his  background, Mr. Wheeler possesses a unique opportunity to make strides toward including all people in the vibrant world of media and telecommunications. Our economies, and our telecommunications networks, create the most value when all people can participate as users, creators and entrepreneurs.
"Acting Chairwoman Clyburn's successful term positioned Mr. Wheeler well to address many issues of importance to the civil rights and social justice communities. In particular, her initiation of the Critical Information Needs research protocol, implementing Section 257 of the Communications Act, has put the agency in a position to adequately assess the needs of the media ecosystem for the first time in more than a decade. "Ms. Clyburn's tenure demonstrated that the only barrier to advancing the civil rights agenda at the FCC is the determination and commitment of the person leading the agency," noted Cheryl Leanza, UCC OC Inc.'s policy advisor."

Entertainment Software Association

"Congratulations to Chairman Wheeler and Commissioner O'Reilly," said Michael Gallagher, president of the Entertainment Software Association (computer games). "Driving ubiquitous broadband and boosting our country's wireless ecosystem are top priorities for the interactive entertainment ecosystem and for the U.S. economy. With the Commission at full strength, and with the keen experience and leadership of Chairman Wheeler, we look forward to assisting the FCC in developing policies that drive private sector innovation and job creation."


FCC commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel

"I congratulate Tom Wheeler and Michael O'Rielly on their confirmations by the Senate to the Federal
Communications Commission. Tom Wheeler will bring to the Commission a long history of experience in the
communications sector that will undoubtedly contribute to his effectiveness as Chairman of the agency.
Michael O'Rielly also will bring communications policy knowledge to his new role as Commissioner.
"I look forward to working with both Tom and Mike as we tackle the communications issues facing our
country-once again as a full Commission.

"Finally, I would like to thank my colleague Mignon Clyburn for keeping the agency moving forward with
strength and grace during this interim period."

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