FCC’s Tom Wheeler: The Blogging Chairman

The FCC will be all about communications 'networks'

On Tom Wheeler's second day as chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, or as he called it, the "optimism agency," Wheeler blogged. He talked about himself, the staff he appointed on Monday, the FCC's place in history, and he began to set the framework for a Wheeler-led FCC policy.

Call him the blogging chairman. No other FCC chair shared as much of himself or his point of view as quickly and as openly.

Wheeler's blog post was based on remarks he delivered Tuesday to the FCC staff.

Wheeler likes to talk about "networks." It's a word we'll be hearing a lot under the Wheeler FCC—he used the word 24 times. Only in a historical reference did Wheeler even mention TV or broadcast or radio. 

"These are important days in determining the future of our networks and their effect on our commerce and our culture," said Wheeler, the former wireless and cable lobbyist. "There is no doubt that today we are living history in the midst of the fourth great network revolution."

Wheeler focused on three points:

1. Promote economic growth. Wheeler sees technological innovation, growth and national economic leadership as being determined by networks. He said he would facilitate the expansion of networks, including the appropriate allocation of adequate amounts of spectrum.

2. Maintain the historic compact between networks and users. Though a change in technology might call for a review of the FCC's rules, it doesn't mean the rights of users or the responsibilities of networks should change.

3. Make networks work for everyone. More than expanding networks, Wheeler plans to focus on how networks can help a 21st century educational system, expand capabilities for Americans with disabilities and assure diversity, localism and free speech.

In a nod to the GOP-led FCC reform proposals in the House, Wheeler set up a temporary working group headed by Diane Cornell [special counsel] to look into the proposals, asking for her to put a report on his desk in 60 days. "All wisdom does not reside on the eighth floor," Wheeler said.