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With the FCC finally fully staffed, advocates say the agency ‘can’t afford to waste a single second’ 

'We’ve waited more than two-and-a-half years to get here.'


Andrew Wyrich


Posted on Sep 15, 2023   Updated on Sep 17, 2023, 1:13 pm CDT

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With the confirmation of Anna Gomez last week, the Federal Communications Commission(FCC) is finally fully staffed after more than two and a half years of gridlock

As many long time readers will know, the path to getting to a full slate—three Democratic commissioners and two Republicans commissioners—has been filled withdelays, smear campaigns, and more. President Joe Biden’s first choice to be the fifth and final commissioner was Gigi Sohn, a well-known broadband advocate, but her nomination was stymied by Republican opposition and delay tactics

The fifth and final seat is critical, as it would give the FCC the necessary votes to pass issues that would almost assuredly be split down party lines, such as restoring net neutrality rules and Title II authority over the broadband industry that were repealed under the Ajit Pai-led FCC during the Trump administration. 

But now that the FCC is (finally) fully staffed, the message from advocacy groups was clear: It’s time to get moving on a number of issues that have been stalled amid the gridlock. 

“The FCC can’t afford to waste a single second,” Evan Greer, the director of Fight for the Future, said in a statement. “Now that the agency has a full slate of commissioners, they should move immediately to reverse Trump’s disastrous repeal of net neutrality and reinstate basic oversight of telecom monopolies.” 

Similarly, Jessica J. Gonzalez, the co-CEO of Free Press Action, said with Gomez now seated at the agency, the FCC should start the process of reinstating Title II authority and work “to prevent digital discrimination and ensure that everyone in the United States has reliable and affordable broadband.” 

“We’ve waited more than two-and-a-half years to get here. This senseless delay, orchestrated by giant media companies and their lobbyists, has prevented the Commission from doing everything it can to hold broadband and broadcast companies accountable,” Gonzalez said. 

But it isn’t just internet rights groups that want net neutrality and Title II authority to be at the top of the agenda with a fully-staffed FCC. 

Following Gomez’s confirmation Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.), in a statement, called on the FCC to “restore their rightful authority over broadband internet access,” and pledged to reintroduce his own legislation that would restore net neutrality. 

Why it matters

The path to the FCC being fully staffed has been a long one. Sohn, after going through numerous confirmation hearings,withdrew herself from being considered and criticized the “unrelenting, dishonest, and cruel attacks” that were lobbied against her. 

But now the saga is over, and the FCC can begin a process to restore net neutrality rules, something even President Biden has urged the commission to do. 

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*First Published: Sep 15, 2023, 6:00 am CDT