Electronic transoms were flooding Wednesday as
industry and Hill players continued to react to the news that FCC Commissioner
Robert McDowell would be exiting the commission after almost seven years, which
he announced at the FCC's Wednesday public meeting.
Senate Commerce Committee John Thune (R-S.D.), who is expected to have a hand
in selecting a successor to McDowell, called him a freedom fighter for markets
and ideas. "As we have seen with his recent leadership on efforts to
prevent foreign government intervention in the operation and use of the
Internet, Rob has been a consistent voice cautioning against unnecessary
governmental regulations. I hope the president's nominee to replace him will
approach the job with the same passion and energy that Rob exhibited and will
be similarly committed to finding market-based solutions to our nation's
communications challenges whenever possible."
Cable Association President Matt Polka praised McDowell for his
"distinguished career" at the commission, "where he demonstrated
an impressive mastery of the complicated regulatory framework that governs the
communications industry, including independent cable operators."
common theme among many commenters Wednesday was the intellectual rigor
McDowell has brought to his decision making. "ACA always regarded Commissioner
McDowell as an honest broker who searched for the right answer based on the
law, the facts and the public interest. Commissioner McDowell was a model
public servant noted for his sharp mind, quick wit, and generous spirit,"
appreciate the energy and enthusiasm he brought to his work, his strong
interest in technology and innovation, and his leadership most recently in the
international arena where he has been a strong advocate against efforts to
regulate the Internet," said US Telecom president Walter McCormick.
would like to extend my heartfelt thanks to my friend Rob for his years of
service at the FCC," said CTIA President Steve Largent. "Rob has been
a forward thinker when it comes to communications policy and a strong voice
that encouraged the evolution of the dynamic wireless ecosystem. We wish him
the best in his future endeavors."
Parents Television Counsel praised McDowell for trying to goose the pace of FCC
dispensation of indecency complaints. "His voice and expertise have been
invaluable on a number of key issues before the Commission, particularly the
FCC's lethargic pace of enforcement of broadcast decency law," said PTC president Tim Winter,
who took the opportunity to press the Obama Administration to name a successor
"committed to the consistent, sound enforcement of broadcast decency
is more under the control of the chairman, however. Genachowski has indicated
the FCC is not going after any but egregious cases, which have actually helped
it start to clear the backlog of complaints McDowell has been pushing for
action on, since those complaints can hold up license renewals or impede sales.
had requested that his colleagues on the commission hold the applause for a
later date, but all violated the request.
Chairman Julius Genachowski called McDowell "an extraordinary colleague,
creative, wise and a great partner on the commission." He called him
"essential" to many FCC achievements that would not have happened
without him and has "always improved the quality of [the FCC's]
work." He said they had worked through countless issues, a process he has
commissioner Mignon Clyburn fought back tears at the meeting as she talked of
McDowell's loyal friendship and support. "His background and ideals
have been invaluable to the Commission, and his keen insights and deep
intellect have helped me grow as a regulator," she said in statement.
"He is both a trusted ally and at times a worthy adversary, but to sum it
all, Commissioner McDowell stands for America, her citizens, her
entrepreneurs and her innovators."
is smart, insightful and deeply knowledgeable about all things
communications," said Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel. She joked that she
thought she understood spectral interference before I arrived at the commission
-- she was a top telecom advisor to the Senate Commerce Committee -- "but
Rob has now explained to me that noninterference is, in fact, the 'prime
Ajit Pai rounded out the unsolicited comments: "Rob had been a terrific
colleague," including even before he joined the commission when Pai's (and
Rosenworcel's) nomination was held up or months due to a hold unrelated to his
qualifications. "He has proven to be a consistently wonderful colleague.
He is just the model public servant in so many ways. I don't know what we are
going to do without him, but I am hopeful that the chairman and my colleagues
agree that I ought to have two votes."