6 Revealing Quotes From Obama's Potential New FCC Nominee, Tom Wheeler

Brian Fung

President Obama is preparing to nominate Tom Wheeler to chair the Federal Communications Commission. According to The Wall Street Journal's Danny Yadron, the nod could come as early as Wednesday afternoon. Wheeler's a noted venture capitalist and a top former lobbyist for both the wireless industry and the cable companies, making him a very well-connected pick. Incidentally, Wheeler was also an Obama bundler, contributing more than $245,000 to the president's reelection campaign.

Wheeler now faces confirmation by the Senate, but that's perhaps the last place to turn for insight into what the candidate really thinks on tech policy. A far more interesting set of opinions can be found on Wheeler's blog, which he's kept since May 2007. I've pulled together some of the best clips below, but before we get there, have a look at some of the stylistic changes Wheeler has tinkered with over the years—he alternates between writing headlines in sentence-case and all-lowercase. I'm not sure what that says about him, but the quirk appears to come and go (click the screenshot to embiggen):

Now, on to the good stuff.

On net neutrality, Wheeler tried to convince network operators to back the FCC's policy:

On media paywalls, Wheeler had some tough love for news companies:

On the privatization of space exploration, Wheeler likened NASA to a telecom monopoly:

On reallocating spectrum more efficiently, he argued for a kind of lightly managed chaos:

On Internet privacy, Wheeler proposed entrusting network operators rather than content providers or Web companies themselves:

Wheeler hinted at his favor for 2011's failed AT&T/T-Mobile merger—not because it would've been good for consumers, or for the businesses themselves, but because it would've given the FCC more jurisdiction to regulate mobile broadband: