The Senate has confirmed the renominations of Democrat Geoffrey Starks and Republican Brendan Carr for new terms on the Federal Communications Commission, ensuring there won't be any more agency nomination drama — at least in the near term.
The pair were confirmed by voice vote late Saturday (Sept. 30).
Carr's term is for five years, retroactive to July 1, 2023, while Starks’s five-year term is retroactive to July 1, 2022.
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Starks is expected to join with FCC chair Jessica Rosenworcel and new Democrat Anna Gomez to vote this month to launch a proceeding to reclassify broadband access as a telecommunications service, which will return oversight of internet access to the FCC and allow the Democratic majority to reimpose network neutrality rules.
Rosenworcel sounded ready to hit the ground running with a full commission in place.
“With a complete Senate-confirmed Commission, the FCC is now ready to take on our full slate of work and fulfill our commitment to ensuring Americans everywhere have access to the best, most reliable communication services in the world,” she said.
“The passion and dedication for public service exhibited by Commissioners Carr and Starks exemplify the qualities needed at the FCC,” Comcast chief legal officer Tom Reid said. “We are fortunate to have their continued leadership on issues like broadband investment and regulation and closing the digital divide that will keep our country at the top of global communications policy. We look forward to continuing to work with the commissioners on these and other important issues.”
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“The reconfirmation of Commissioners Starks and Carr will allow the FCC to get down to business without worrying about possible disruptions,” Benton Institute for Broadband & Society Senior Counselor Andrew Jay Schwartzman said. “Commissioner Starks has provided stalwart support for media diversity and rapid broadband deployment, especially to those people and places that too many others have neglected. Benton does not always agree with Commissioner Carr, but in a time of deep partisan division, we do very much appreciate his collaboration on many issues, especially on spectrum matters.”
Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.), chair of the Senate Commerce Committee, said: “Americans need a fully-equipped FCC that is ready to deliver on an agenda that puts consumers first. The agency cannot afford another deadlock or delay when it comes to expanding affordable broadband, protecting the security of our communications networks, driving innovative spectrum policies and strengthening our local news. Today’s confirmation of Geoffrey Starks and Brendan Carr allows the FCC to have full membership and move forward.”
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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.