President-elect Donald Trump has assembled a transition team; its members, in turn, will develop short-lists so he can staff his administration.
Trump has picked federal technology regulation opponent Jeffrey Eisenach to lead his telecom transition team, reports Quartz. Eisenach was an economist at the Federal Trade Commission and an advisor in Ronald Reagan’s administration.
Now a telecom consultant and lobbyist, he counts Verizon and other telecoms as clients. He’s leading the team helping to pick staffers for the FCC, reports the New York Times.
Eisenach has opposed the FCC’s attempts to enforce Net Neutrality by reclassifying ISPs as common carriers; the rules enacted in 2015 give websites and services equal access to the internet.
Look for those to be rolled back under Trump, reports several outlets. Like Trump, as Inside Towers reported, Eisenach has characterized the rules a “top-down power grab” to “target conservative media.”
As far as who could be the next FCC leader, Ajit Pai, the senior GOP Commissioner, will likely be named interim chairman until Trump chooses a permanent successor. Several experts believe tech will not be high on Trump’s to-do list so it could be next spring or summer before the new chairman is nominated and confirmed, states Fletcher, Heald & Hildreth in a blog.
Robert Atkinson, president of the non-partisan think tank Information Technology and Innovation Foundation, tells Scientific American there’s a chance Eisenach could head the FCC. “He would be a strong appointment; he knows the issues very well.”
Asked whether the president has the power to change telecom policy, Atkinson notes the FCC is an independent agency which has to go through a stringent notice and rulemaking process and vote on policy before making a change. “That’s why it was so controversial when Obama publicly said that he thought that Wheeler should change” the designation of broadband access to a common carrier, with more regulation. “That was really unprecedented,” Atkinson tells Scientific American. “The way the president influences telecommunication policy is through the appointment of the chairman to lead the agency.”
November 14, 2016