Michael O'Rielly Exits FCC

(Image credit: Future Media)

FCC Commissioner Michael O'Rielly has apparently made his official exit from the commission after seven years. 

O'Rielly's FCC twitter account was no longer active Thursday night and stakeholders were weighing in following his final meeting.

That came Thursday (Dec. 10) following the FCC's December meeting--which featured praise from his colleagues and FCC staffers--and the confirmation earlier this week of his successor, Nathan Simington. 

Also Read: Simington Confirmed to FCC Seat

O'Rielly is heading for the private sector, he told Multichannel News this week, having spent 27 years in government service, including as a top Hill staffer working on the 1996 Telecom Act.

“During his tenure at the FCC, Mike O’Rielly served with steadfast integrity, intellectual honesty and an unwavering passion for advancing policies that enable a competitive marketplace to thrive," said NCTA-The Internet & Television President Michael Powell, himself a former Republican FCC commissioner and chairman. "His determined advocacy played a critical role in Commission decisions to free up more unlicensed and mid-band spectrum and his commitment to connecting the truly unserved helped shape technology-neutral auctions for USF funding that opened participation to new providers and will result in more households being connected. Mike also forcefully advocated for the removal of outdated regulations that don’t make sense in today’s vibrant marketplace and his humility in policymaking is a model for others. We wish Mike all the best as his career moves beyond the FCC.”

“Over the years, as ACA Connects got to know Commissioner O’Rielly in his leadership position at the FCC, we developed nothing but the deepest respect for his service to the country and his dependable approach to law and regulation," said ACA Connects President Matt Polka. “To his credit, Commissioner O’Rielly was always willing to reach out and consider the point of view of independent video and broadband providers. Commissioner O’Rielly had an open-door approach that demonstrated to all stakeholders, private and public, that he examined each issue on the merits with an open mind. That’s a model for anyone in public service to follow.

Also Read: Carr Urges Simington Confirmation to Stall Democratic Agenda

“We also greatly appreciate the fact that he would set aside time to address ACA Connects members personally at our annual Washington, D.C., Summit. Candid and approachable, Commissioner O’Rielly told it like it is, and it was never a mystery about where we stood with him on the issues, win or lose..."

“For the last seven years, Commissioner O’Rielly has been a champion for smart wireless and spectrum policies,": said CTIA President Meredith Attwell Baker, herself also a former Republican FCC commissioner. "He stood up for free-market principles and competition, fought tirelessly to end 9-1-1 fee diversion and has been a dedicated public servant for more than 20 years. Thanks to his work, a vital mid-band spectrum auction is currently underway, ensuring America’s continued lead in wireless and innovation and providing a needed boost to our emerging 5G economy.”

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.