Tom Wheeler Interview: FCC Chairman Says Rolling Back Agenda Will Be ‘Easier Said Than Done’

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Federal Communications Commission Chairman Tom Wheeler, who will depart the week of Jan 16, said that if the incoming Republican majority on the commission seeks to rollback his agenda, it will be “easier said than done.” In an interview with Variety, hours after he gave a speech at the Aspen Institute defending the FCC’s network neutrality rules, Chairman Wheeler said that moves to undo some of the actions taken in recent years will face public scrutiny. “The idea of taking things away that American consumers and American companies enjoy today is not the easiest thing in the world,” Chairman Wheeler said. “And there are processes in the Administrative Procedure Act that they have to follow in order to do this, and they have to withstand court scrutiny. That is easier said than done.”

Having come from industry, Chairman Wheeler said that as chairman he came to a realization that, in meeting with lobbying and other groups, “everyone comes in here and talks about how their self-interest is synonymous with the public interest.” He added, “And you know, I used to do the same thing. My ‘aha’ moment was that the public interest was a pretty malleable concept. The public interest is determined by the old adage, ‘Where you stand depends on where you sit.’ And so, what I have tried to do is say, ‘OK, we need another standard.’ And I kept saying to myself, ‘What is it that is in the common good, as differentiated from the public interest?’ Because the common good is how you can serve the good of the most people the best way.”


Tom Wheeler Interview: FCC Chairman Says Rolling Back Agenda Will Be ‘Easier Said Than Done’