By Claus Hetting, Wi-Fi NOW CEO & Chairman
On Thursday of last week the new US administration picked 8-year commissioner veteran Jessica Rosenworcel to succeed Ajit Pai at the helm of the FCC. For now Ms Rosenworcel will lead the FCC as Acting Chairwoman. Jessica Rosenworcel has been a passionate Wi-Fi proponent for her entire FCC career.
We suspected it would happen – and frankly some of us have been silently cheering it on – then on Thursday it finally did: Long-time Wi-Fi proponent and 8-year FCC veteran Jessica Rosenworcel has been selected by the new US administration to succeed Ajit Pai at the helm of the world’s most powerful telecom regulatory body, the Federal Communications Commission.
Ms Rosenworcel has been designated ‘Acting Chairwoman’ for now but it is not unreasonable to expect that she may eventually be confirmed for the permanent FCC chairmanship of the Biden administration. There are no specific rules as to how US administrations choose their FCC chairpersons and previous chairman Ajit Pai was also selected from among presiding FCC commissioners by the Trump administration at the time .
For now the Wi-Fi industry will be more than delighted that one huge Wi-Fi proponent – in the form of Ajit Pai – has been replaced by another to head the FCC. Ms Rosenworcel has consistently been an outspoken and fervent supporter of more spectrum and more Wi-Fi-friendly regulation including spearheading the effort to release the 5.9 GHz band and strongly supporting Ajit Pai’s drive to release the full 6 GHz band to unlicensed use.
Ms Rosenworcel is a strong advocate of connecting all Americans with broadband services and has been particularly vocal on the need to finally close the ‘homework gap’ giving all children across the US access to the Internet connectivity they need for schooling and education. She’s also a big supporter of upgrading the US federal government’s widely successful E-rate program (in existence since 1996) intended to make broadband services more affordable for schools and libraries across the nation.
Ms Rosenworcel has been a frequent speaker at Wi-Fi NOW events starting at our inaugural US event in Washington DC in 2016 and most recently at the virtual Wi-Fi World Congress this past October (see the interview here).