The next Federal Communications Commission commissioner’s term to expire belongs to Mike O’Rielly, and he said he would welcome another five-year term. “I’ve expressed an interest in potentially staying,” said Commissioner O'Rielly. “But I respect the fact that this is DC and the nominations and the process can be complex.” O’Rielly’s term ends June 30, although he can remain seated for a year and a half after.
House Democrats want to use the coming months to execute a bold tech agenda ahead of the 2020 presidential election, but they may need to make peace with each other first. While Democrats insist they bring a unified front to the issue of online privacy, they're kicking off this year with a clash between Rep. Ro Khanna (D-CA), a thought leader on privacy issues, and House Commerce Committee Chairman Frank Pallone (D-NJ), who's committee is responsible for shepherding any such legislation. “If Democrats can’t agree with each other, how can they come to a single position with the Republicans?"
Senate Commerce Committee Chairman Roger Wicker (R-MS) is eyeing a potential hearing on 5G wireless deployment and said bipartisan legislation from the previous Congress from Sens. John Thune (R-SD) and Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii) — the STREAMLINE Small Cell Deployment Act — could be a good starting point for the panel’s examination. “I would expect 5G and privacy to be among the first issues,” said Chairman Wicker. “I would hope that [5G] would be one of our first hearings.”
Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai, flanked by advisers, spent roughly two hours in Sen. Dan Sullivan’s office, but it wasn’t enough to satisfy the concerns that have prompted Sen Sullivan (R-AK) to block FCC Commissioner Brendan Carr’s nomination to a full term. "I’m not lifting it right now,” said Sen Sullivan after the meeting. He said more follow-up is necessary and that he will make that decision about Commissioner Carr later. Sen Sullivan has longstanding concerns about the flow of subsidies in the FCC’s rural health care program.
Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai will finally meet with Sen. Dan Sullivan (R-AK) to discuss the senator’s longstanding frustrations with how the agency is doling out telecommunications subsidies. At stake: the nominations of Brendan Carr to a full term and Geoffrey Starks to a new term as FCC commissioners. Sen. Sullivan and Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) are blocking Carr’s nomination over a fight about how the agency handled a funding request from the Anchorage, Alaska-based General Communications that would provide telecom services to rural health care providers.
The tech industry could face a reckoning on privacy if a blue wave puts the House in Democrats' hands. It’s the one issue that seems to offer the richest opportunity for legislating if Democrats flip the chamber, coming amid pressure over the tech industry's growing pile of privacy scandals. “There will be a tug of war on this,” said Rep. Peter Welch (D-VT).
Despite Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai’s attempt to resolve Sen. Dan Sullivan’s (R-AK) concerns over the subsidy funding flowing to his state, the senator said the fix isn’t enough and that he will keep blocking reconfirmation of Commissioner Brendan Carr, at least until he meets with Chairman Pai to discuss the matter. Both Sen.
A potential blue wave coming for Capitol Hill could leave Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai drowning in time-consuming congressional oversight sessions. House Democrats, who question Pai’s actions on everything from his repeal of Obama-era net neutrality rules to his deregulation of the media marketplace, say they would pick up the pace of oversight hearings and make document requests of the high-profile agency head. Pai's headaches could come from various House panels, from Commerce to Judiciary to Oversight.
Two bills aimed at reinstating aspects of the repealed Obama-era net neutrality rules are headed to a vote in the California General Assembly. The measures, billed by state legislators as “the strongest net neutrality protections in the country,” were stripped of key provisions earlier in 2018 amid fierce opposition from industry groups, but those components were later restored, and the measures have gained momentum in recent weeks.
Sinclair Broadcast Group’s singularly nasty breakup with Tribune Media may put a serious damper on the conservative-leaning broadcast giant's ability to expand, despite its persisting hunger to do so. Sinclair insists it will press on with business as usual and is already eyeing other acquisition targets in its bid to expand into a full-fledged conservative media titan on par with Fox News.