Jessica Rosenworcel assumes FCC chair following Ajit Pai’s exit

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Big quote: “I am honored to be designated as the Acting Chairwoman of the Federal Communications Commission by President Biden. I thank the President for the opportunity to lead an agency with such a vital mission and talented staff. It is a privilege to serve the American people and work on their behalf to expand the reach of communications opportunity in the digital age,” Rosenworcel said in a statement.

President Biden and the FCC have confirmed that Jessica Rosenworcel will act as interim Chairwoman of the FCC, until such time that a permanent chair is appointed. It’s also possible that Rosenworcel could be appointed to the position permanently.

However, it’s also likely that Biden could appoint Geoffrey Starks, who serves as a Democratic FCC commissioner. Both Rosenworcel and Starks have been the clear forerunners for the FCC chair under the Biden-Harris administration.

Rosenworcel has served as an FCC commissioner since 2012, carrying the role both through the Obama and Trump eras. She’s been a vocal proponent of net neutrality, being a key force that led to the codification of net neutrality into law under the 2015 Open Internet Order before its untimely repeal in 2017 under Ajit Pai’s FCC.

Rosenworcel has also supported the classification of ISPs as Title II common carriers, removing barriers preventing municipal broadband deployment, and has championed much of the FCC’s spectrum policy in regards to the future of Wi-Fi. Rosenworcel has also been critical of rubber stamping massive mergers, such as the controversial Sprint/T-Mobile merger.

Most recently, Rosenworcel has been vocal about broadband providers suspending data caps and overage fees during the Covid-19 pandemic, and has encouraged a broader discussion about data caps in general.

Rosenworcel is the second-ever woman to assume the role of acting chair, as Mignon Clyburn held the position before Tom Wheeler was designated as the official chairman back in 2013. However, should Rosenworcel be appointed to the chair permanently, she would be the first official FCC chairwoman.





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