New FCC Chairman Gets an Earful From House Panel

Tom Wheeler's honeymoon didn't last long

There has been no honeymoon for Tom Wheeler, the new chairman of the Federal Communications Commission. On his 39th day at the regulatory agency, Wheeler got an earful from the GOP-controlled communications and technology subcommittee. Democrats also weren’t shy about making a few suggestions.

Wheeler walked into the oversight hearing under a cloud of controversy for beginning a rulemaking that could lift the ban on in-flight cell phone calls.

Since he put the item on the agency’s agenda for its monthly meeting Thursday afternoon, press reports envisioning chaos in the skies have overshadowed his agenda and a carefully crafted message about how the FCC would usher in “a network revolution” that comes “chock full of challenges.”

Instead, Wheeler was forced to defend the rulemaking on in-flight phone calls by describing the FCC as a “technical agency.”



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