Skip to main content

McDowell calls it quits at FCC

FCC commissioner Robert McDowell announced March 20 that he plans to step down from his post at the agency within the next few weeks.

McDowell, who was first chosen by President George W. Bush to serve as a commissioner and confirmed by the Senate in 2006, has been an advocate for market-based solutions to issues coming before the commission.

“After nearly seven years of carrying out the incredibly high honor of serving the American people at the FCC, it is time to turn more of my energies toward an even higher calling: serving my family,” he said in a statement released on the FCC website.

One of two Republican commissioners, McDowell was reappointed to the commission by President Barack Obama in June 2009.

In testimony before the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee in December 2012, McDowell told lawmakers that the agency should approach incentive auctions of broadcast spectrum “with simplicity, humility and regulatory restraint.”

During the hearing, McDowell said through “intelligently designed band plans and auction and service rules” the agency can provide opportunities for all stakeholders. He also called for the FCC to avoid “micromanaging” the wireless market with unnecessary rules.

Before joining the FCC in 2006, McDowell was senior VP for Competitive Telecommunications Association (CompTel), an association representing competitive facilities-based telecommunications service providers and their supplier partners.

Gordon Smith, CEO and president of NAB, lauded McDowell in a statement on the association’s website. “His (McDowell’s) good humor and grace have been matched only by his ardent support for fair media ownership rules and full-throated support for a vibrant First Amendment.”

McDowell did not make public the exact date of his departure.