With Democrats' Senate wins, Gigi Sohn is likely headed to the FCC

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Gigi Sohn may soon take a seat as Federal Communications Commissioner thanks to Democrats' narrow victories in US midterm Senate races around the country, according to the financial analysts at New Street Research. "We now believe it is likely that a third Democratic commissioner joins the [Federal Communications] Commission, either through a vote in the lame-duck session (in which case it will be the current nominee Gigi Sohn) or sometime in the first few months of 2023," wrote New Street analysts. A Democratic FCC majority could move forward in areas such as digital discrimination, mergers and spectrum policy, according to the New Street analysts. "The current FCC proceeding on the digital discrimination issue will gain greater importance, as a Democratic majority will be more likely to highlight ISP actions with disparate impacts, even if the FCC's ability to mandate different ISP behavior is, in our view, limited," they wrote. "On merger reviews, conditions are likely to be somewhat tougher, though we don't think it will affect the ultimate decision to approve or reject a merger, as those tend to be made with the antitrust authority." The analysts also speculated that Democratic control over the FCC would likely result in a national spectrum policy favoring shared and unlicensed spectrum. That would undoubtedly represent a blow to big 5G operators like T-Mobile and Verizon that loudly prefer licensed spectrum over unlicensed options.

With Democrats' Senate wins, Sohn is likely headed to the FCC