Rosenworcel Tapped For Acting FCC Chief

Federal Communications Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel, one of the agency's leading proponents of net neutrality regulations, has been tapped by President Joe Biden to serve as acting chair of the agency.

"Now more than ever we need to expand the reach of communications opportunity for all of us," she tweeted Thursday. "We have a lot of work to do and I can't wait to get started."

Rosenworcel, who was first appointed to the FCC nine years ago by former President Barack Obama, has objected to numerous recent broadband policy decisions by agency -- which was under Republican leadership from 2017 until this week, when former chair Ajit Pai stepped down.

She opposed the FCC's 2017 decision to revoke the net neutrality rules, which prohibited broadband providers from blocking or throttling traffic, and from charging higher fees for prioritized delivery.

Rosenworcel said at the time that the rollback "puts the FCC on the wrong side of history, the wrong side of the law, and the wrong side of the American public."

"As a result of today's misguided action, our broadband providers will get extraordinary new powers," she said. "They will have the power to block websites, the power to throttle ... and the power to censor online content."

Rosenworcel has also argued that the FCC should redefine broadband as service with speeds of at least 100 Mbps -- up from the current benchmark of 25 Mbps downstream and 3 Mbps upstream.

“With many of our nation’s providers offering gigabit service, it’s time for the FCC to adjust its baseline upward, too,” she stated last year.

As recently as this week, she dissented from the FCC's conclusion that broadband service is being deployed in a reasonable and timely manner.

“There are people sitting in parking lots using free Wi-Fi signals because they have no other way to get online,” she stated. “There are mayors in towns across the country clamoring for better broadband so their communities have a fair shot at digital age success.”

The trade group Incompas -- which counts Amazon, Netflix and Google among its members -- on Thursday described Rosenworcel as “a fighter for families, competition and an open internet.”

“Jessica is the right person, with the right experience, to help lead our nation to a better broadband recovery that brings faster speeds and lower prices to millions of American families and small businesses,” Incompas CEO Chip Pickering stated.

Advocacy group Public Knowledge added that Rosenworel “has been a strong advocate for broadband affordability, student access through the E-Rate program to in-home broadband connectivity, and generally a more consumer-focused FCC.”

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