While not as newsworthy – or controversial – as President-elect Trump’s choice of Secretary of State, the question of who will replace Tom Wheeler as FCC Chairman is still of great interest to telecommunications, internet, media, and related industries.
Several names have been mentioned, including Ajit Pai, the current Republican commissioner and frequent dissenter and critic of Wheeler-backed Orders; David Fellows, a former CTO at Comcast and AT&T, and co-founder of Denver cable company Layer 3 TV; and Jeffrey Eisenach, a member of Trump’s transition team.
Most analysts and others in the know expect the new FCC to be pro-business and friendly to cable and telecom companies, where the current FCC is widely considered more favorable to Internet providers. How small ILECs will fare is a question, as is what the new leadership will mean in the mergers and acquisitions realm.
Republicans will, of course, have three of the five commissioners, including the new Chairman. With Wheeler gone, some observers think that current Democrats Mignon Clyburn and Jessica Rosenwarcel will step down and be replaced. John Branscome, once deputy chief of the FCC’s Wireline Competition Bureau, is a rumored successor to Rosenwarcel.
Philip J. Weiser, a law professor and former White House advisor, is thought by some to be a candidate for Chairman or commissioner, depending on Pai’s role.