President Joe Biden announced his intent to nominate Jessica Rosenworcel as the official FCC Chair. This comes less than a year after being appointed as acting Chair while Biden sought to fill the remaining FCC vacancy.
Rosenworcel is a known advocate for net neutrality and making broadband more affordable and accessible. As a result, the FCC has increased its focus on just that since she’s sat as acting Chair, implementing initiatives such as the Emergency Broadband Benefits program and directly asking consumers to detail the availability and quality of their broadband services.
Additionally, Biden has nominated Gigi B. Sohn as the FCC’s second Democratic commissioner, a seat that has been vacant since Rosenworcel was appointed Acting Chair. Sohn is “one of the nation’s leading public advocates for open, affordable, and democratic communications networks” and has worked for more than 30 years to push for better policies around U.S. broadband.
If both Rosenworcel and Sohn are confirmed, it will give the Democratic party the majority in the FCC, allowing regulations to pass more easily in favor of Biden’s agenda. This could be the first significant step towards reinstating net neutrality, which was repealed back in 2017 under the Trump administration and something that Democrats would no doubt push for following her appointment.
Her appointment would also follow the new FTC Chair, Lina Khan, who has also been a strong advocate for regulating Big Tech and making sure companies like Google, Amazon, and others are competing fairly. This includes initiatives towards protecting consumer data and energizing the Right to Repair movement.
That said, both FCC nominees still need to be confirmed by the Senate, which will hopefully happen before the end of the year. Still, their appointment signals a major shift in the tech industry that Big Tech and ISPs will no doubt attempt to push back on.