FCC Chairman Wheeler to resign on Inauguration Day
New York — The head of the Federal Communications Commission, which regulates broadcasters, phone and cable companies, says he will step down in January as President-elect Donald Trump takes office.
That will leave a 2-1 Republican majority at the commission, which next year is likely to start paring back or overturning the measures that Chairman Tom Wheeler pushed through in his three years at the FCC.
The former cable- and wireless-industry lobbyist championed policies that were intended to protect consumers and that rankled the phone and cable industries, including new “net neutrality” rules that prevent internet service providers from favoring their own sites and consumer online-privacy rules.
It’s typical for the FCC chairman to leave with a new administration, but there had been speculation that Wheeler might stay on. The agency is led by four commissioners and a chairman, and Wheeler could have stepped down as chairman and stayed as a commissioner. Trump will choose a new chairman.
“Serving as FCC chairman during this period of historic technological change has been the greatest honor of my professional life,” Wheeler said in a statement Thursday.