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Saturday, April 20, 2013

Dealing with Wheeler?

TIME magazine says Tom Wheeler is the frontrunner to be the new FCC chairman.  Is that good news?  Let's see...

Uh oh, he's a telecom lobbyist.  It seems he was the chief lobbyist for the cell phone companies (President of the CTIA (nee Cellular Telephone Industry Association), 1992-2004) and the cable companies (President of  the National Cable Television Association, 1979-1984).  Apparently, he's the only person in both the cable television and wireless industry halls of fame.  Lately, he's been working for a venture capital firm, and serving as director on boards of telecom-related companies (EarthLink is the only one I recognized).

Like Senator Rockefeller, I'm not eager to have a telecom lobbyist heading up the FCC.  Sen. Rockefeller and fellow Senate Democrats have told President Obama that they would prefer a less industry-friendly candidate, like maybe current Commissioner Rosenworcel.  Coincidentally, she is a former Rockefeller aide. No wonder Commissioner Rosenworcel's vision of E-Rate 2.0 is so close to Sen. Rockefeller's E-Rate 2.0.

But let's get back to Mr. Wheeler.  What about his E-Rate history?

Hey, check it out: he was on the first USAC board.  Of course, those were the days when the SLD was the SLC, and had a separate board, so he doesn't seem to have had anything to do with the E-Rate directly.  Still, he's familiar with the USF; that's got to be good.

I couldn't find anything he's said about the E-Rate program.

One disappointment: somehow, I don't think that someone in the Wireless Hall of Fame is going to join me in my quest to get make cell phones ineligible for E-Rate funding.

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