Tom Wheeler will be nominated by President Barack Obama to be the next chairman of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) according to a report from The Wall Street Journal. Mr. Wheeler will be filling the position following the resignation of Julius Genachowski. According to a tweet from Brendan Sasso, technology policy reporter for The Hill, the White House has confirmed the nomination.
Wheeler’s earlier career included being a major lobbyist in the telecom and media industries. He has a track record of being for corporate monopolies and against consumer interests and his positions regarding the issues facing the FCC pertaining to broadband and wireless are regrettably unknown.
Many worry that despite votes of confidence that Wheeler will remain independent of his former industry interests and not allow his position to be a puppet to the industry, his ties and record undermine that hope.
Gigi, B. Sohn, President of Public Knowledge, argues that despite concerns for Tom Wheeler’s past, his record should be judged “in light of the times and in the context of his other important experiences and engagement with policy.”
In other words, understand that Wheeler was just doing the bidding of his corporate masters.
Playing the role of gatekeeper and watchdog of the data and information that reaches the American people, the FCC and its chairman are some of the most powerful institutions in the United States that exists today. Provided that the internet continues to grow as it has, the position and the agency will only increase in importance.
Joshua Schwitzerlett is a writer and researcher with Ring of Fire. Follow him on Twitter @Joshual33