|Chairman of the Federal Communications Commission|
November 4, 2013
|Preceded by||Julius Genachowski|
He was appointed by President Obama and confirmed by the U.S. Senate in November 2013. Prior to working at the FCC, Wheeler worked as a venture capitalist and lobbyist for the cable and wireless industry, with positions including President of the National Cable & Telecommunications Association (NCTA) and CEO of the Cellular Telecommunications & Internet Association (CTIA).
Wheeler attended Ohio State University. From 1969-1976, Wheeler led the trade group Grocery Manufacturers of America. He then went on to work at the National Cable & Telecommunications Association from 1976 to 1984, becoming president of the trade group in 1979. For a year until its closure, Wheeler was president of NABU Network, before spending a number of years creating or running several different technology startups. In 1992 he became the CEO of the Cellular Telecommunications & Internet Association, a post he held until 2004. From 2005 Wheeler was a technology entrepreneur and executive at Core Capital Partners.
Originally considered a frontrunner for the position, Wheeler was confirmed as the new Federal Communications Commission chief in November 2013. Despite a letter written by several prominent former Obama administration officials endorsing Wheeler for the position, many people expressed concern over the consideration of Wheeler for the position due to his history of lobbying for industry.
In recognition of his work in promoting the wireless industry, Wheeler was inducted into the Wireless Hall of Fame in 2003, and in 2009, as a result of his work in promoting the growth and prosperity of the cable television industry and its stakeholders, was inducted into the Cable Television Hall of Fame. He is the only member of both halls of fame. Cablevision magazine named Wheeler one of the 20 most influential individuals in its history during cable's 20th anniversary in 1995.
In late April 2014, the contours of a document leaked that indicated that Wheeler's FCC would consider promulgating rules allowing Internet service providers (ISPs) to violate net neutrality principles by making it easier for Internet users to access certain content — whose owners paid fees to the ISPs (including cable companies and wireless ISPs) — and harder to access other content, thus undermining the traditional open architecture of the Internet. These plans have received substantial backlash from activists, the mainstream press, and some other FCC commissioners. In May 2014, over 100 internet companies including Google, Microsoft, eBay, and Facebook signed a letter to Wheeler voicing their disagreement with his plans, saying they represented a "grave threat to the Internet". As of May 15, 2014, the fast lane bill passed voting with a 3–2 vote. It will now be open to public discussion that ends July 2014.
Wheeler appears to have changed his mind regarding net neutrality as he said in January 2015 "We’re going to propose rules that say no blocking, no throttling, no paid prioritization" at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.
Wheeler lives in Washington, DC.
- Wheeler, Tom. Take Command!: Leadership Lessons from the Civil War. New York: Currency Doubleday, 2000. ISBN 0385495188 OCLC 232697696
- Wheeler, Tom. Mr. Lincoln's T-Mails: The Untold Story of How Abraham Lincoln Used the Telegraph to Win the Civil War. New York: Collins, 2006. ISBN 006112978X OCLC 70046076
- "Presidential Nominations Sent to the Senate". White House Press Secretary. 9 May 2013. Retrieved 30 Dec 2014.
- Tom Southwick (26 Jul 2000). "Oral Histories: Thomas Wheeler". The Cable Center. Retrieved 30 Dec 2014.
- Nagesh, Gautham (April 24, 2014). "FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler Makes the Call, Takes the Flak". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved May 8, 2014.
- Patrick Parsons (5 Apr 2008). Blue Skies: A History of Cable Television. Temple University Press. p. 377.
- Neel, K.C. (October 26, 2009). "Always Ahead of the Curve.(Core Capital Partners managing director Tom Wheeler)". Multichannel News (via HighBeam (subscription required)). Retrieved 8 May 2014.
- Gustin, Sam (May 2, 2013). "Tom Wheeler, Former Lobbyist and Obama Fundraiser, Tapped to Lead FCC". TIME. Retrieved May 8, 2014.
- Gustin, Sam (April 16, 2013). "Tom Wheeler, Former Lobbyist and Obama Loyalist, Seen as FCC Frontrunner". TIME. Retrieved May 8, 2014.
- Blanchard, Roy (November 2, 2013). "Tom Wheeler confirmed as new FCC chief". Tech Times. Retrieved May 8, 2014.
- "Tom Wheeler". Cable Center. Retrieved May 8, 2014.
- "Tom Wheeler". Wireless History Foundation. Retrieved May 8, 2014.
- "Obama to appoint cable industry lobbyist Tom Wheeler as FCC head". The Guardian. May 1, 2013. Retrieved May 8, 2014.
- Wyatt, Edward (April 23, 2014). "F.C.C., in a shift, backs fast lanes for web traffic". New York Times. Retrieved May 8, 2014.
- Hattem, Julian (April 25, 2014). "NYT blasts net neutrality proposal". The Hill. Retrieved May 8, 2014.
- Gustin, Sam (May 7, 2014). "Net Neutrality: FCC Boss Smacked by Tech Giants, Internal Dissent". TIME. Retrieved May 8, 2014.
- Nagesh, Gautham (May 7, 2014). "Internet Companies, Two FCC Commissioners Disagree With Proposed Broadband Regulations". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved May 8, 2014.
- Edwards, Haley Sweetland (May 15, 2014). "FCC Votes to Move Forward on Internet 'Fast Lane'". Time. Retrieved May 20, 2014.
- FCC Head Plans to Heed Obama Blueprint to Ban Web Fast Lanes Dallas Morning News, Jan 7, 2015
- Title II for Internet providers is all but confirmed by FCC chairman Ars Technica, Jan 7, 2015