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Reaction Rolls In On New FCC Members

Industry players wasted no time welcoming Tom Wheeler to the chairmanship of the FCC and Michael O'Rielly to a Republican seat on the commission Tuesday (Oct. 29).

The Senate moved swiftly to confirm the two after Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.) lifted his prior hold on the nomination.

O'Rielly had been approved unanimously by the Senate Commerce Committee and only Cruz's "no" vote had prevented Wheeler from unanimous approval.

With a clean slate to work with, some groups looked forward to a chairman who squared with their policy agendas while others simply put out the welcome mat.

--"We congratulate Tom Wheeler on his confirmation as chairman of the FCC," said Comcast chairman and CEO Brian Roberts. "The agency and the American people will be well-served by his proven leadership and in-depth knowledge of the communications industry.  We also congratulate Michael O’Rielly on his confirmation as FCC Commissioner.  He has an exceptional record of public service and we are fortunate that he will be joining the Commission. We applaud the Senate for approving these excellent members of the FCC and look forward to working with all the members of the Commission in the days ahead.”

--“I congratulate Tom Wheeler and Michael O’Rielly on their Senate confirmations,” acting FCC chairwoman Mignon Clyburn said. “Tom brings a tremendous depth of experience, talent, and knowledge that will serve him well as the leader of this critically important agency.  I have no doubt that he will be an outstanding FCC chairman. With his extensive public policy expertise and understanding of the communications landscape, Michael will certainly be an invaluable asset to the commission. The FCC family enthusiastically welcomes both Tom and Michael. I look forward to working with them, along with my current clleagues at the Commission, to further communications policies that advance the public interest, bolster competition, empower consumers, and spur new waves of innovation that grow our economy and create jobs.”

--"NAB strongly supported the nominations of both Tom Wheeler and Michael O'Rielly and we are pleased with their confirmation. We also salute the superb job done by Mignon Clyburn during her tenure as acting chair,” said National Association of Broadcasters president Gordon Smith. "Broadcasters look forward to working with a full complement of commissioners in the months and years ahead. Local radio and TV stations will continue our evolution to new distribution platforms, mindful that broadcasting remains an indispensable source of news, entertainment and lifeline information to communities across America."

--“We congratulate Tom Wheeler and Mike O’Rielly on their confirmations to serve on the Federal Communications Commission and look forward to working with them in their new positions," said National Cable & Telecommunications Association president Michael Powell. "Both individuals bring an abundance of experience and deep knowledge of media, technology and telecommunications that will serve them well as the Commission considers important policy issues [Wheeler is former NCTA president and O'Rielly is a long time Hill aide.] "With the Commission soon to be at full strength, we would also be remiss not to compliment acting commissioner Mignon Clyburn for her steady hands and for the significant contributions made by the FCC under her watch. We look forward to working with all commissioners as we begin a new chapter with a new chairman."

--“ACA congratulates chairman Wheeler and commissioner O’Rielly on their Senate confirmation this evening. We look forward to working with them as well as commissioners Jessica Rosenworcel and Ajit Pai on addressing the critical communications policy issues facing the country,” said American Cable Association President Matt Polka. “We also look forward to continuing our constructive relationship with commissioner Mignon Clyburn, who deserves special praise for keeping the FCC’s agenda on track while serving as acting chairwoman these past few months.”

--"Public Knowledge looks forward to working with xhairman Wheeler. We expect that he will work to preserve a strong FCC that will ensure an open, universally accessible and affordable communications system that serves all Americans," said Public Knowledge president Gigi Sohn. "We  also expect that he will carry out the President’s communications policy agenda, which includes robust open Internet requirements, vigorous broadband competition, affordable broadband access, diversity of voices and serious consumer protections, all backed by vigorous agency enforcement."

--“On behalf of CTIA member companies, I wish to extend my congratulations to Tom and Mike on their Senate confirmation," said CTIA president Steve Largent. "Tom’s deep knowledge of communications issues [Wheeler is former head of CTIA], strong leadership and clarity of vision in the dynamically changing communications sector will benefit consumers and the economy as we migrate to an increasingly mobile world. Mike also brings an impressive depth of experience in telecommunications, and an appreciation of the important role that wireless broadband plays in driving wireless investment and innovation. We also wish to thank Mignon Clyburn for her tenure at the helm of the Commission over the past several months. We appreciate her work to maintain the agency’s course in promoting and advancing key wireless priorities, including spectrum and infrastructure. 

--“Verizon congratulates Mr. Wheeler and Mr. O’Rielly on the confirmation of their nominations to the FCC," said Randal Milch, Verizon’s EVP. "There are a number of pressing policy issues in the communications space that must be addressed, not the least of which are the upcoming spectrum auctions. We now look forward to working with Chairman Wheeler and a full commission to shape 21st century, pro-consumer policies for the highly innovative broadband and wireless marketplaces. We also want to thank FCC acting chair Clyburn for her strong and highly productive leadership over the past five months.”

--Free Press suggested Wheeler could take a page from Clyburn's leadership over her brief tenure in the big chair. "We look forward to working with the new chairman and the newest commissioner to create an FCC that actually looks out for the public interest," Free Press president Craig Aaron said. "We had plenty of questions about the choice of Mr. Wheeler, but what matters is what you do once you're sitting in the big chair. And there is a lot to do: connecting all Americans to the wonders of the open Internet, encouraging meaningful competition, diversifying media ownership, and making sure that this crucial agency has the power to protect people everywhere when predatory or powerful corporations step over the line. Mr. Wheeler has an opportunity  to transform the media, technology and this agency for the better. But that will require a different approach to this powerful pulpit from most of the chairmen who came before him. The new chairman has been in Washington for many years, and we hope one of the first things he will do is commit to going outside the Beltway, getting away from the lobbyists, and meeting face-to-face with the American people. We also congratulate Acting Chairwoman Mignon Clyburn for her exemplary leadership at the agency these past few months. She accomplished a great deal in a short time and engaged a wide range of stakeholders. Her approach should be a model for Mr. Wheeler."

--“Tom Wheeler arrives at the FCC at a critical moment," said Mobile Future chair Jonathan Spalter. "With consumer demand for mobile connections skyrocketing and mobile data usage 10 times more than when the last chairman took office, it is essential that he, along with Mike O'Rielly and the rest of the commission, act quickly -- and wisely -- not only to ensure that adequate spectrum will be available for our citizens, but also to support the seamless and necessary transition of our society and economy to an all-IP future. American innovation depends on it. We congratulate both and look forward to working with them toward these goals.”

--“Charter congratulates Tom Wheeler on his confirmation as chairman of the FCC and Mike O’Reilly on his confirmation as commissioner," said Charter Communications president Tom Rutledge. "Both individuals bring depth of  knowledge and experience to a commission facing a complex and evolving communications landscape. Charter looks forward to working with them and the entire Commission to advance competition and economic growth.”