Industry Lauds Wheeler: “Inspired an Historic Period of Technological Change”

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Telecom and other industry executives stepped up to congratulate FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler on his leadership at the agency for the past three-plus years. Wheeler announced he’s stepping down on January 20 (see previous story).

The Competitive Carriers Association applauded him for inspiring a “historic period of technological change,” and for his work to pave the mobile wireless future for all Americans, particularly those in rural and remote areas. CCA thanked Chairman Wheeler for championing a host of initiatives to inspire ubiquitous access to next generation technologies including creating the first-of-its-kind incentive auction; fostering competitive roaming arrangements between carriers; advancing Universal Service funding to address coverage gaps in areas that need it most; and adopting consumer friendly policies that better promote accessibility for all individuals.

CCA President/CEO Steve Berry said there are many facets to Wheeler’s legacy, and especially cited his work to create a 600 MHz spectrum auction that facilitates competitive carriers’ access to spectrum. “Establishing a spectrum reserve and facilitating a timely, safe, and efficient post-auction repack – as well as advancing other competitive policies including small geographic license sizes that provide all carriers an opportunity to acquire critical spectrum resources, will undoubtedly benefit the industry and more importantly, consumers. Under his leadership, competitive carriers received greater clarity on how to facilitate competitive roaming arrangements to better serve consumers.”

Berry praised the chairman for his attention to adopting industry consensus proposals on Universal Service funding for wireless carriers, “which I hope comes to fruition through bipartisan consensus in the days ahead.”

“Chairman Wheeler has been a tenacious fighter on telecommunications issues during a period of remarkable change in the media landscape,” said NAB President/CEO Gordon Smith. “We wish him well in whatever the future may hold.”

In the House, Communications and Technology Subcommittee Chairman and Energy who’s soon-to-be Chairman of the full Commerce Committee, Rep. Greg Walden (R-OR), stated: “Few FCC Chairs have served during a more dynamic and controversial time. While Tom and I have not agreed on every issue, we’ve shared a passion for expanding access to broadband communications to underserved areas of America. I wish him every success in the future.”

December 16, 2016

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