FCC Commission all accounted for

After months of delays due to political infighting, the U.S. Senate Commerce Committee took President Obama’s recommendations and named a Democrat and a Republican to fill out the prestigious panel. The FCC now has a full five-member commission after the U.S. Senate confirmed the nominations of Jessica Rosenworcel and Ajit Pai, whose terms end in 2015 and 2016, respectively.

Rosenworcel is a former adviser to Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.), chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee, and has been rumored to be a front-runner for the Democratic commissioner slot for nearly a year. Rosenworcel replaces her former boss, Commissioner Michael Copps, whose term expired at the end of last year. Rosenworcel is known for her deep knowledge of telecom issues, from FCC reform to net neutrality, and is said to share many of the same policy values of Rockefeller and Copps.

Pai has been a partner at law firm Jenner & Block after gaining extensive experience in virtually every bureau at the FCC. Pai replaces Republican Commissioner Meredith Attwell Baker, who left her post at the FCC in May of 2011 to join Comcast. Pai has also served as chief counsel to the Senate Judiciary Committee’s subcommittee on the Constitution, and in various jobs at the Justice Department.

Chairman Julius Jenachowski said both bring a deep knowledge of our sector, and proven track records of accomplishment.

“Now that we have a full five member FCC, I look forward to all of us rolling up our sleeves and getting to work on several important matters facing the Commission for the benefit of American consumers, including but certainly not limited to: implementation of the new incentive auction legislation, finally putting the power of unlicensed use of the TV 'White Spaces' into consumers' hands, adopting sensible universal service contribution reform, modernizing our media ownership rules to reflect the competitive marketplace of the Digital Age, important transactions requiring expeditious review, and much, much more,” he said.

Both the Consumer Electronics Association and the National Association of Broadcasters, who rarely agree on anything, voiced their joint approval.

Gary Shapiro, president and CEO of the CEA, said “We look forward to working with both of these distinguished individuals to restore our nation's economy by advancing sound communications policies that promote technological innovation.”

The NAB’s President and CEO Gordon Smith said that Rosenworcel and Pai “are well-respected public servants who bring years of expertise and a unique perspective to the FCC. We look forward to working with them and engaging in an open and constructive dialog on the issues affecting broadcasting.”