Skip to main content

FCC 'Chair' Rosenworcel Attends First Competition Council Meeting

jessica rosenworcel
Acting FCC chair Jessica Rosenworcel (Image credit: JohnStaleyPhoto.com )

Acting Federal Communications Commission chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel was among those attending the inaugural meeting of the Biden administration’s White House Competition Council, according to a White House release forwarded by the Justice Department. Interestingly, though, the White House identified her not as “acting” as they did with a number of other participants, but simply as chair.

(A spokesperson for the Department of Justice, when asked if that was a mistake or news, deferred to the White House, which was not immediately available for comment. Rosenworcel, though, was still identified as “acting” chairwoman on the FCC website. An FCC spokesperson also deferred to the White House.

The goal of the council, whose members include six cabinet secretaries and the heads of seven independent agencies, is to help lower prices for American families by boosting competition.

Also Read: White House Promotes $65 Billion Broadband Investment

The inaugural meeting included a discussion of the actions council members had taken to do that.

The Biden administration has been focused on lowering the price and boosting competition for broadband service, including promoting municipal networks.

At the meeting, according to a readout from the White House, council chair Brian Neese said that the competition agenda was a key to President Biden's Build Back Better program and commended efforts to improve competition for internet service.

He also charged the members with coming up with new ways to promote competition by the next meeting.

Among the other participants were Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo and Federal Trade Commission Chair Lina Khan.

The FCC had no comment on what Rosenworcel specifically offered up at the meeting, but the FCC recently sought new comment on competition for broadband service in apartments, condos and businesses.

The council was established by a July 9 executive order and it had a lot of advice for the FCC:

"(l) To promote competition, lower prices, and a vibrant and innovative telecommunications ecosystem, the Chair of the Federal Communications Commission is encouraged to work with the rest of the Commission, as appropriate and consistent with applicable law, to consider:

"(i) adopting through appropriate rulemaking 'Net Neutrality' rules similar to those previously adopted under title II of the Communications Act of 1934 (Public Law 73-416, 48 Stat. 1064, 47 U.S.C. 151 et seq.), as amended by the Telecommunications Act of 1996, in "Protecting and Promoting the Open Internet," 80 Fed. Reg. 19738 (Apr. 13, 2015);

“(ii)  conducting future spectrum auctions under rules that are designed to help avoid excessive concentration of spectrum license holdings in the United States, so as to prevent spectrum stockpiling, warehousing of spectrum by licensees, or the creation of barriers to entry, and to improve the conditions of competition in industries that depend upon radio spectrum, including mobile communications and radio-based broadband services;

“(iii)  providing support for the continued development and adoption of 5G Open Radio Access Network (O-RAN) protocols and software, continuing to attend meetings of voluntary and consensus-based standards development organizations, so as to promote or encourage a fair and representative standard-setting process, and undertaking any other measures that might promote increased openness, innovation, and competition in the markets for 5G equipment;

“(iv) prohibiting unjust or unreasonable early termination fees for end-user communications contracts, enabling consumers to more easily switch providers;

“(v) initiating a rulemaking that requires broadband service providers to display a broadband consumer label, such as that as described in the Public Notice of the Commission issued on April 4, 2016 (DA 16–357), so as to give consumers clear, concise, and accurate information regarding provider prices and fees, performance, and network practices;

“(vi) initiating a rulemaking to require broadband service providers to regularly report broadband price and subscription rates to the Federal Communications Commission for the purpose of disseminating that information to the public in a useful manner, to improve price transparency and market functioning; and

“(vii) initiating a rulemaking to prevent landlords and cable and Internet service providers from inhibiting tenants' choices among providers.”

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.