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STATEMENT: Obama Set to Nominate Former Chief Telecom Industry Lobbyist to Chair FCC

Nominee Must Vigorously Defend the Public Interest, Not Telecom Giants
Published:   April 30, 2013

Washington, DC — The Wall Street Journal and other media sources are reporting President Obama plans to nominate Tom Wheeler, managing director of Core Capital Partners and former head of two of the largest telecommunications industry lobbying groups, to serve as chairman of the Federal Communications Commission. In addition to heading the National Cable and Telecommunications Association (NCTA) and the Cellular Telecommunications and Internet Association (CTIA), Wheeler was a major bundler who raised substantial funding for the Obama Administration from the telecommunications market sector he would be overseeing.

The following statement can be attributed to Sascha Meinrath, New America Foundation vice president and director of New America's Open Technology Institute:

"America continues to face significant telecommunications challenges, including high costs, slow speeds, abysmal consumer protections, and far too many unserved communities. Now, more than ever, we need a FCC Chairman who will serve as a champion for the public interest, take on industry giants, and make the hard decisions necessary to restore American competitiveness. The Obama Administration has done far too little over the past four years to address these challenges. Due to this stagnation, the next FCC Chairman will need to make substantial and meaningful reforms to promote universal access to affordable broadband, restore robust competition, and encourage the implementation of world class broadband networks. I am skeptical that the former chief lobbyist of the wireless and cable industries will be capable of holding his former clients accountable for their ongoing shortcomings. The Open Technology Institute will be a vigilant watchdog at the FCC and will work to ensure that President Obama’s long-stalled communication agenda — including protecting an open Internet, increasing broadband competition, ensuring affordable and universal access to broadband, and promoting media diversity — is implemented.”

For more information on key issues the next FCC Chairman must address, see the Public Interest Coalition Letter.
 
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