D.C. Welcomes New, Returning, FCC Commissioners

Industry players were lining up to welcome a full complement of FCC commissioners after the Senate voted to confirm FCC commissioner Brendan Carr to a new, five-year, term and to seat Democrat Geoffrey Starks.

"NAB strongly supports the confirmation of Geoffrey Starks to a seat on the FCC and Brendan Carr's confirmation for a full five-year term," said National Association of Broadcasters president Gordon Smith, himself a former member of the Senate.

Related: Senate Confirms Carr, Starks to FCC

"These are two dedicated public servants with a firm grasp on telecommunications policy that will serve the American people well. Broadcasters look forward to working with an FCC that now has its full complement of five members." 

Noncommercial broadcasters joined the welcome wagon.

Patrick Butler, president and chief executive officer of America’s Public Television Stations (APTS), issued the following statement on the confirmations of Brendan Carr and Geoffrey Starks to serve as commissioners of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC):

“Commissioner Carr has demonstrated a strong commitment to ensuring that every American, including the millions living in rural America, has access to modern communications services – a commitment public television shares as we serve more than 97 percent of the American people, including in areas where broadcasting and broadband services are not economical for our commercial colleagues, said Patrick Butler, president of APTS. “Commissioner Starks brings an impressive background in public service and private practice to his new responsibilities, and we are delighted that someone so well qualified will bring the Commission to its full complement of five commissioners. 

“We look forward to working with commissioners Carr and Starks to ensure a smooth post-auction channel repacking process, reform the broadcast regulatory structure to reflect the realities of the 21st century, and advance public television’s missions of education, public safety and civic leadership," said Butler.

Over on the cable side, former FCC commissioner and chair Michael Powell, current president of NCTA-the Internet & Television Association, add his applause. 

“We congratulate Brendan Carr and Geoffrey Starks on their confirmation to serve on the Federal Communications Commission," Powell said. "We deeply appreciate the expertise and unique perspectives that each bring to the agency as well as their shared willingness to serve the public in this capacity. We look forward to working with them and the other members of the Commission on the wide variety of communications, media and technology policy issues that affect the lives of Americans every day.”

American Cable Association president Matt Polka made a pitch for consensus in the new commission. 

“ACA congratulates current FCC commissioner Brendan Carr and incoming commissioner Geoffrey Starks on their Senate confirmations to serve as agency leaders," he said. "ACA members, consisting of hundreds of smaller communications providers, look to the FCC to produce high-level, bipartisan policy that promotes broadband deployment throughout the country, thus advancing economic opportunity, employment, and educational opportunities in a balanced manner. ACA looks forward to working not only with Brendan Carr and Geoffrey Starks but also chairman Ajit Pai and commissioners Michael O’Rielly and Jessica Rosenworcel on building consensus-driven outcomes worthy of widespread support.”

“In just over a year as an FCC Commissioner, Brendan Carr already has a proven successful track record of proposing sound public policy guided by legal rigor," said Comcast senior EVP David Cohen. "We welcome his continued focus on overcoming the hurdles for broadband infrastructure as he has traveled the country to see first-hand the challenges facing providers and the opportunities for consumers. We applaud the Senate’s confirmation of Commissioner Carr to a full term."

Over the course of his time in public service, Geoffrey Starks has gained experience in both the executive and legislative branches of government, and at the FCC," said Cohen. "His emphasis on pursuing policies that will ensure the availability of broadband for all Americans and his shining a spotlight on improving telehealth are timely as the Commission works on these important issues. We congratulate Commissioner Starks on his confirmation and look forward to working with him as he joins the FCC.”

“IIA warmly congratulates Geoffrey Starks on his confirmation as a commissioner of the FCC and Brendan Carr on his confirmation to an additional term," said broadband boosters, the Internet Innovation Alliance. "Both bring a wealth of experience to the tasks ahead. At a time when the nation is beginning the transition to much faster and more versatile 5G networks, we look forward to working with them on critical policies to accelerate broadband deployments and meet the country's broadband needs.”

“I applaud the Senate for confirming Brendan Carr to a second term and Geoffrey Starks as the newest Commissioner of the FCC,” said Steven K. Berry, president of the Competitive Carriers Appropriation. “Commissioner Carr has done yeoman’s work on improving infrastructure policies, and his work to improve the deployment process will greatly benefit competitive carriers, and more importantly, consumers, especially those in rural America.”

“Mr. Starks’ experience and recognition of the need for more spectrum and modernized siting policies make him an excellent addition to the FCC. Both gentlemen are committed to closing the digital divide and to ensuring no American is left behind in the digital world. It is good to see the FCC back to ‘full strength’ with five Commissioners, and I look forward to continued work with the Commission on issues most important to competitive carriers.”

“Verizon congratulates Brendan Carr and Geoffrey Starks on their confirmations as commissioners of the FCC." said Kathy Grillo, SVP and deputy general counsel. "Commissioner Carr has proven himself a strong leader in developing mart, forward-looking policies that encourage the innovation and investment needed to meet the evolving communications needs of American consumers. Of particular note, commissioner Carr has been a champion of identifying and aggressively addressing regulatory impediments that undermine the deployment of advanced broadband networks, including 5G. His work will mean more and better broadband, more quickly, for consumers, and will be crucial in the U.S. maintaining its wireless leadership."

"Commissioner Starks brings to his new role at the Commission a proven track record as a public servant, and a strong commitment to ensuring that the Commission’s policies serve all American consumers well. We look forward to working with commissioner Starks on developing communications policies that serve consumers well."

“We offer our congratulations to [Geoffrey] Starks on his new role at the FCC, and to [Brendan] Carr for his new FCC term," said Parents Television Council president Tim Winter. "The issues they will work on are of utmost importance to American families. Our shared interest in ensuring that children aren’t assaulted by indecent content on the publicly-owned broadcast airwaves, that families have access to accurate TV content ratings, and that TV stations find ways to provide age-appropriate educational programming for children, are crucial to protecting and nurturing children and families. We look forward to working with both of them."

Mike Copps, former FCC commissioner and chairman and current special advisor to Common Cause, welcomed both, but focused on fellow Democrat Starks.

“Congratulations to Geoffrey Starks and Brendan Carr on their confirmation to the FCC," said Copps. "Returning the FCC to full strength with five commissioners will allow the agency to fully address the communications needs of all Americans. We are particularly pleased that Geoffrey Starks can finally take a seat at the agency. At a time when large telecom and media gatekeepers threaten to harm our democracy, we need another strong voice for protecting an open internet, ensuring all Americans have affordable access to broadband, and putting an end to out-of-control media and telecom consolidation.”

“We congratulate Geoffrey Starks on his confirmation to assume the office of Commissioner of the Federal Communications Commission," said Reps. Bobby Rush (D-Ill.), G. K. Butterfield (D-N.C.), and Yvette D. Clarke (D-N.Y.). "Commissioner Starks is well known for his expertise, professionalism, and dedication. As members of the Congressional Black Caucus and the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, we are confident that Commissioner Starks will be a strong voice in ensuring that our communications networks and technologies serve the needs of communities of color and improve the lives of all Americans.  We thank Senator Schumer for favorably considering our recommendation of this distinguished American.”

“We appreciate that commissioner Carr has taken an interest in fixed wireless broadband, including visits to several WISPs and WISP-enabled rural businesses,” said Wireless Internet Service Providers Association (WISPA) president Claude Aiken. “He understands the crucial role our members are playing in closing the digital divide, and the need for better infrastructure, spectrum, and subsidy policies to help us do so.” 

"WISPA also welcomes the elevation of Geoffrey Starks, a longtime public servant at the FCC and the Department of Justice, and a friend of mine,” said Aiken. “Geoffrey brings a strong intellect, an open mind, and a keen sympathy for the interests of consumers.”

John Eggerton

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.