Applause Sounds for FCC Nominees

Industry groups, legislators, and potential fellow regulators were lining up Tuesday to add their congratulations following the White House announcement late Monday that Jessica Rosenworcel and Ajit Pai were being nominated by the president for FCC commission seats.

"I could not be more pleased that President Obama has nominated Jessica to be an FCC Commissioner," said Senate Commerce Committee Chairman Jay Rockefeller (R-W.Va.). Rosenworcel is currently senior counsel on Rockefeller's Communications Subcommittee.  "She is an undisputed communications law expert who has earned the respect of both Democrats and Republicans alike on the Commerce Committee as well as telecommunications industry stakeholders and consumer advocates. As Commissioner [Michael] Copps once said when Jessica left the FCC to come to the Senate: ‘Their gain is my loss,' and today, I couldn't agree more. There is no better qualified person for this position. Jessica will be an effective advocate by working to close the digital divide and bring expanded access to all Americans in this 21st century communications age."

"In nominating Jessica Rosenworcel and Ajit Pai as FCC Commissioners, President Obama made two outstanding choices for the Commission and for the American people," said FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski. "Given their talent, leadership and expertise in our space, they would both play an invaluable role at the FCC."

The language is still conditional -- "would play" -- since the pair must still go through a confirmation hearing and Senate vote, though that is not expected to be a problem, given the pairing of a Republican (Pai) and Democrat (Rosenworcel) and their support from House and Senate Republican leadership.

"NCTA extends its sincere congratulations to Jessica Rosenworcel and Ajit Pai for being nominated to serve as Commissioners at the Federal Communications Commission," said National Cable & Telecommunications Association President Michael Powell. "Both Jessica and Ajit share extensive telecommunications policy experience, a deep understanding of the agency that is informed by their prior service, and a profound appreciation for the continuing investment needed to promote innovation and sustain today's dynamic and competitive telecommunications marketplace. We look forward to working with each of them in their new capacities once confirmed by the Senate."

"[The American Cable Association] is pleased President Obama will nominate Jessica Rosenworcel and Ajit Pai to serve at the FCC," said ACA President Matt Polka. "Both are talented individuals with a deep understanding of the digital economy and the vital role played by small and mid-sized cable operators in providing world-class communications services to hometown America."

Polka worked in a shot at the retransmission consent process that smaller cable operators--and larger ones for that matter--are looking to the FCC commissioners to reform. "ACA looks forward to working with the nominees in developing new approaches that modify outdated policies, such as the flawed retransmission consent regime, and that expand consumers' ability to access content and telecommunications services under the best terms and conditions possible," he said.

"I congratulate Jessica and Ajit on their nominations and look forward to what will hopefully be swift confirmations," said FCC Commissioner Mignon Clyburn. "Restoring a full bench to the FCC is something that will benefit both the discourse and productivity of the Commission. Both of these nominees are well respected for their legal acumen and collegiality, and I am eager to work with them."

"On behalf of the wireless industry, we congratulate Ajit and Jessica for their nomination as FCC Commissioners. They have a wealth of experience in Washington, knowledge of communications issues and thoughtfulness that will be great additions to the Commission," said CTIA: The Wireless Association President Steve Largent, who worked in a plug for getting more spectrum, one of the key issues facing the commission. "Once they complete the Senate confirmation process," he said, "we look forward to working with them on wireless telecom matters, including getting more spectrum for our industry."

"NAB congratulates Ajit Pai and Jessica Rosenworcel  --  two talented individuals with a commitment to public service -- for their nomination to the FCC," said National Association of Broadcasters President Gordon Smith.

Sprint SVP Vonya McCann added a valedictory for outgoing Commissioner Michael Copps, whose seat Rosenworcel, his former top aide, is slated to occupy. "Both Rosenworcel and Pai are well-equipped to bring insight and thoughtfulness to the complex public policy issues pending before the Commission," she said. That includes the proposed AT&T-T-Mobile merger Sprint is currently fighting. "At the same time," she said, "we recognize the work and labor of Commissioner Michael Copps, who will leave the FCC later this year. Commissioner Copps has played a leading role in nearly every major decision made by the FCC since he arrived at the Commission over 10 years ago. America owes Commissioner Copps its gratitude for a job well done."

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.