Gomez fills FCC’s fifth seat

Anna Gomez has been confirmed as a commissioner at the FCC.

Anna Gomez has been confirmed as a commissioner at the FCC.

  • The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has had a vacant seat at its top table since early 2021
  • At last the Senate has approved a new commissioner for the US regulator 
  • Anna Gomez will serve a five-year term
  • The regulator has a Democratic majority for the first time in more than six years

For the first time in more than two-and a-half years, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has all of its five seats filled, and the US regulator will no longer be locked in stalemate, after the Senate voted 55 to 43 to confirm Anna Gomez as a commissioner. 

The FCC has only had four of its five seats filled since January 2021 when former chairman Ajit Pai stepped down as Donald Trump’s tenure as US president was ending – see Sufferin' Succotash! Tweety Pai says goodbye.

Since then, President Joe Biden has struggled to get approval for a Democrat nominee to fill the vacant seat and all that while the regulator has been locked in a political stalemate, with two Democrat and two Republican commissioners voting on regulatory matters. 

Biden’s initial nomination, Gigi Sohn, was unpopular with Republicans and the major cable operator companies and she withdrew her nomination in March this year after what she described as “unrelenting, dishonest and cruel attacks on my character and my career as an advocate for the public interest” – see Sohn slams cable lobby as she withdraws her FCC nomination.

Gomez, a telecom sector attorney and senior advisor to the US State Department’s Bureau of Cyberspace and Digital Policy, has clearly been a less divisive figure. When she begins her five-year term as a commissioner soon, she will break the stalemate and give the Democrats a 3-2 majority at the FCC for the first time since early 2017 (the end of the Barack Obama presidency). 

The move opens the door for the thorny matter of net neutrality to once again appear on the FCC agenda, as the Democrats are keen to reinstate rules that were revoked by Pai, something he remains proud about – see The not-so-humble Pai congratulates himself for repealing net neutrality in the US.

A no doubt relieved FCC Chairwoman, Jessica Rosenworcel, stated: “Congratulations to Anna Gomez on her confirmation by the United States Senate.  I look forward to welcoming her to the commission. Anna brings with her a wealth of telecommunications experience, a substantial record of public service, and a history of working to ensure the United States stays on the cutting edge of keeping us all connected. Her international expertise will be a real asset to the agency. I look forward to working with her to advance the agency’s mission to ensure the benefits of modern communications reach everyone, everywhere and that the United States can continue to lead in the digital age.”

And Will Johnson, senior VP of federal regulatory and legal affairs at major US operator Verizon, was quick to send his best wishes: “Ms Gomez brings a wealth of experience in telecommunications policy and a significant record of public service. Her expertise and leadership will be critical as the FCC addresses the vital issues of broadband access and affordability, spectrum management, public safety, and expanding digital opportunity,” he noted in this statement. “America is at a crucial moment, when connectivity and technology are reshaping our economy, our industries, and our everyday lives. We look forward to working with the full commission to continue America’s leadership in wireless technology and to advance our shared goal of bringing affordable connectivity to all Americans.”

- Ray Le Maistre, Editorial Director, TelecomTV

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