Wednesday, November 10, 2021

Breaking the Glass Ceiling at the FCC

Jessica Rosenworcel is
the first woman nomina-
ted to be FCC Chair.
(FCC photo)

Three major nominations by the White House may shape the face(s) of telecommunication policy for the next several years. 

Acting FCC Chair Jessica Rosenworcel was nominated by President Biden to another full term on the commission and as Chair. Once confirmed, she will be the first woman to formally hold the FCC chairmanship. Rosenworcel has been an FCC Commissioner since 2012. According to the White House, she was instrumental in creating the FCC's Emergency Broadband Benefit program to help fight the "homework gap" during pandemic lockdowns and help households struggling to afford internet service stay connected. Prior to her appointment to the FCC a decade ago, she was Senior Communications Counsel for the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation, and previously practiced communications law.

FCC Commissioner-
designate Gigi Sohn
(Georgetown U. photo)

The President also nominated attorney Gigi Sohn to fill a vacant seat on the FCC. She is currently a Distinguished Fellow at the Georgetown Law Institute for Technology Law and Policy and previously served as a counselor to former FCC Chair Tom Wheeler. Much of her work has been in advocacy for widescale broadband access. The White House notes that, if confirmed, Sohn would be the FCC's first-ever openly LGBTQ+ commissioner.

Alan Davidson
(US Commerce Dept.
Mr. Biden also nominated Alan Davidson to head up the Communications and Information division of the National Telecommunications and Information Administration. NTIA is the FCC's counterpart in terms of spectrum management for federal agencies, including the military. This is significant to hams because many of our bands are shared with federal government users. Davidson was the first Director of Digital Economy at the Commerce Department, which is NTIA's parent agency. He is currently Senior Advisor to the Mozilla Foundation, and previously served as the open-access software group's Vice President of Global Policy, Trust and Security. Before that, he worked for Google, where he was the company's chief lobbyist in Washington between 2005 and 2012. 

All three nominations are subject to Senate confirmation.