|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 Television Association (NCTA) and CEO of the Cellular Telecommunications & Internet Association (CTIA).
Wheeler attended Ohio State University. Going on to work at the National Cable & Telecommunications Association from 1976 to 1984, Wheeler became 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.
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- Hattem, Julian (April 25, 2014). "NYT blasts net neutrality proposal". The Hill. Retrieved May 8, 2014.
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- Edwards, Haley Sweetland (May 15, 2014). "FCC Votes to Move Forward on Internet ‘Fast Lane’". Time. Retrieved May 20, 2014.