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Rosenworcel Takes Strong Commitment to Public Service, Regulatory "Humility" to FCC Job

A strong commitment to public service and a little regulatory "humility" in the face of technological change, guided by the core consumer- and competition-protection values of the Communications Act.

That was the way FCC Democratic nominee Jessica Rosenworcel summed up her approach to the job, according to written testimony for her Senate Communications Committee confirmation hearing Wednesday (Nov. 30).

"[C]ommunications technology is changing at a brisk pace," she says. "Laws and regulations struggle to keep up. The challenge for the FCC is identifying how to inspire the best in communications in a world where change is a constant and innovation can invert what we thing we know."

In "approaching that challenge," she said, "I believe that a little humility helps." But she added that, at the same time, the commission had a responsibility to uphold the core values of the Communications Act.

She said that universal service should be a paramount objective given that it is directly related to the safety and security of life and property that new communications technologies should facilitate. "No matter who you are or where you live," she says, "you should have access to first-rate communications service," and that includes "urban, rural and everything in between."

That also means competitive markets, she says, adding that they are the most effective way of insuring the public reaps the benefits of all that new technology. She also pledged a "fierce" commitment to consumer protection.

Rosenworcel gives a shout out to her family and its history of public service, including her father's service in the Air Force, her mother running a soup kitchen, a grandfather in the Customs Service and a great-grandfather who swept the New York City streets.

Rosenworcel, Senate Commerce senior communications counsel, will be succeeding her old boss. She was a legal advisor on competition and Universal Service and then senior legal advisor to Copps before exiting in March 2007 to join the powerful Senate Commerce Committee as a top communications advisor to Committee Chairman Jay Rockefeller (D-W. Va.). Before advising Copps, she was a staffer, including legal counsel to the bureau chief of the Common Carrier bureau, so she is well versed in the broadband and Universal Service reform issues the FCC is currently focused on.