Permanent FCC Chair Remains a Big X Factor for President Biden

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The head-scratching inside the Beltway continues as the wait for a fifth Beatle... um, er... Federal Communications Commissioner — and for whoever is to be named the agency’s permanent chair — continues. Initial delays were thought to involve a decision between Acting Chair Jessica Rosenworcel and current Commissioner Geoffrey Starks who had the backing of the Congressional Black Caucus. But the name of broadband advocate and Public Knowledge Founder Gigi Sohn has surfaced as a new possible alternative — and one for whom the buzz had been growing — particularly given Biden's decision to name progressive Lina Khan as chair of the Federal Trade Commission, over the more-centrist Acting Chair Rebecca Kelly Slaughter. Just as Khan‘s appointment was taken as a sign President Biden had chosen a get-tough policy on Big Tech, Sohn's could be viewed as a sign President Biden was going to get tough on internet service providers in the effort to achieve universal broadband under a definition that includes high speeds and low prices. Chairwoman Rosenworcel still has strong Capitol Hill backing, and one top Republican source said that, political differences notwithstanding, she was “terrific.” But FTC Commissioner Slaughter had the backing of Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), and Khan still got the nod.

Permanent FCC Chair Remains a Big X Factor for Biden