Wheeler Decrys Trump Meddling In Sinclair Case

With his tweet voicing support for Sinclair, says former Democratic FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler, President Trump attempt to influence the FCC’s handling of the Sinclair-Tribune merger moves from “a thumb on the scale to a chain-mailed fist.”

COMMENTARY BY TOM WHEELER

A Suggestion On How To Monitor Fake News

The government should require social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter to use an  open application programming interface. This would make it possible for third parties to build software to monitor and report on the effects of social media algorithms. To be clear, the proposal is not to force companies to open up their algorithms — just the results of the algorithms.

Wheeler: Time To Regulate Facebook, Google

Tom Wheeler, the former chairman of the FCC under President Obama, on Wednesday called for internet giants like Facebook and Google to be regulated. “It is time to recognize that the most powerful companies in the country should not be making their own rules,” Wheeler wrote.

COMMENTARY BY TOM WHEELER

Trump FCC Dereg Threatens Local TV-Radio

Former FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler says that local broadcasting’s focus on serving the public good “is being stealthily watered down, with the industry’s support, by the Trump FCC. In little-noticed decisions, the agency has been removing regulatory requirements to protect broadcast localism, shield a diversity of local voices and avoid the establishment of a dominant national broadcaster.”

COMMENTARY

Wheeler Laments End Of FCC Privacy Regs

Former FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler says legislation now headed for the President’s desk “not only gives cable companies and wireless providers free rein to do what they like with your browsing history, shopping habits, your location and other information gleaned from your online activity, but it would also prevent the [FCC] from ever again establishing similar consumer privacy protections.”

NEWS ANALYSIS BY BRIAN FUNG

How Tom Wheeler Turned The Tables On Cable

Over three years leading the FCC, Wheeler, a Democrat, has addressed the nation’s thorniest technology issues. Once pilloried by consumer advocates and the comedian John Oliver as a shill for big business, Wheeler took many by surprise as he brought challenge after challenge to the dominance of the cable and wireless companies he once represented.

JESSELL AT LARGE

Wheeler’s Auction: Promises Undelivered

Outgoing FCC chief Tom Wheeler said the other day that the auction “delivered on its ambitious promise.” That’s quite a stretch by any measure. The final numbers of $18.3 billion for 70 MHz of spectrum is miles away from the commission’s talk when this all started back in 2010.

Trump Said To Elevate Pai To FCC Chairman

Citing unidentified people, Bloomberg and Politico both reported Friday that the next chairman of the FCC will be Ajit Pai, an old hand at the agency. Pai has long maintained that the FCC under former chairman Thomas Wheeler had overstepped its bounds, suggesting that he would steer the agency in a direction more favorable to big phone and cable companies.

Q&A

Outgoing Wheeler Weighs His Legacy

Although Tom Wheeler entered the FCC chairman’s office with a reputation for supporting the cable and cellular industries — he was their top lobbyist in Washington in the 1980s and 1990s — under pressure from activists, he pushed an agenda that focused on disrupting old tech industries (“incumbents”) by helping new ones (“insurgents”). Here, he talks about his tenure.

Wheeler: Auction ‘Delivered’ On Its Promise

The FCC chairman, who will be gone by tomorrow, praised the incentive spectrum auction, but cautioned that “there is still a long road ahead,” meaning the necessary repack. “This will be an extremely important task for my successor and the new commission,” he said.

JESSELL AT LARGE

Wheeler Leaves Misguided Broadcast Legacy

Rather than helping out broadcasters so they can continue to provide arguably the best all-around TV service to everyone for free, outgoing FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler worked to constrain the growth of station groups, tried to undercut their retrans leverage by eliminating the syndex rules and failed to champion ATSC 3.0. It’s a legacy that says that broadcasting should be tightly managed, but not encouraged.

Wheeler: Open Internet’s Unlikely Defender

When former lobbyist Tom Wheeler took the reins at the FCC, consumer advocates worried his industry ties spelled trouble. Three years later, they see him as a champion for consumers.

UPDATED

FCC’s Wheeler To Step Down Next Month

Tom Wheeler will end his term as FCC chairman on Jan. 20, 2017, after more than three years leading the agency.

Wheeler Would Leave If Rosenworcel OK’d

Tom Wheeler will step down as chairman of the FCC if it “ensures” that the Senate confirms Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel for another term, an FCC official confirmed to The Hill on Thursday.

Wheeler Addresses Deleted Items, Departure

During what could be his second-to-last FCC Open Meeting Thurs, Chairman Tom Wheeler made his plea to the upcoming Trump Administration: Preserve an open Internet, protect consumer privacy, and continue to expand broadband to more communities. The 10-min meeting was one of the shortest in perhaps the history of the FCC, after most of the meeting items were eliminated from the agenda. 

NEWS ANALYSIS

One Last Growl For Sharp-Toothed Wheeler

As Tom Wheeler enters his last few months as head of the FCC during the Obama administration — the next president is expected to name a new chairman — he has turned early supporters into foes and invited an expensive lobbying battle that may stymie a last-ditch pursuit of regulations that starts on Thursday, including voting on a proposal for broadband privacy protections.

Wheeler: FCC To Reinforce Consumer Rights

FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler says the commission is working hard to protect your privacy and allow you to watch pay-TV programming without renting a set-top box.

Thune Blasts Wheeler On Secrecy

Senate Commerce Committee Chairman John Thune (R-S.D.) is calling on FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler to release the FCC’s latest proposal on rules for pay television set-top boxes.

Outcome Uncertain On Eve Of FCC’s STB Vote

FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler’s’ proposal to overhaul the market for TV set-top boxes remained on a knife’s edge a day ahead of a scheduled vote by the commission on Thursday.

COMMENTARY BY SETON MOTLEY

FCC Wants To Create TV Content Commission

Seton Motley: “FCC Chairman [Tom Wheeler] wants to end all that pesky free market content creation and explosive growth — and shrink it all back down to one government bureau. He is doing all of this via a pay TV set-top-box power grab. What non-problem is his grab alleged to be “solving?”

NCTA, MPAA Slam FCC’s Set-Top Do-Over

COMMENTARY BY TOM WHEELER

Wheeler Outlines Proposed New Set-Top Rules

FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler wants consumers to be able to say goodbye to their cable set-top boxes. In a Los Angeles Times op-ed piece published today, Wheeler is proposing a new rule that would require cable and satellite video companies to offer consumers the option to receive their channels through apps that provide streaming video over the internet.

JESSELL AT LARGE

FCC’s Wheeler Proves To Be No Cable Shill

When Tom Wheeler took the reins at the FCC, the thought was that he would side with the cable operators he used to represent. Well, Wheeler didn’t on retrans, opting not to put in place regulations that would have hobbled broadcasters’ ability to negotiate for fees. Yes, Wheeler was chief spokesman for cable in the 1980s, but he has proven to be no cable guy.

ACA ‘Appalled’ At Lack Of Retrans Reform

The American Cable Association lashed out at FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler’s announcement that his agency will not change rules governing broadcast retransmission licensing negotiations. “ACA is shocked and appalled that FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler, who has placed such urgency in reducing consumer confusion in the marketplace, has decided to leave unchanged the retransmission consent regime,” said ACA President and CEO Matthew Polka, in a statement.

FCC Won’t Regulate TV Blackouts

The Federal Communications Commission won’t write new rules to govern fee disputes that sometimes lead to program outages on pay-TV services, Chairman Tom Wheeler said in a blow to cable and satellite providers and a boost to broadcasters.

RETRANS

Big Retrans Win For Broadcasters

FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler says a commission review of retrans proceedings made it clear that “more rules in this area are not what we need at this point. So, today I announce that we will not proceed at this time to adopt additional rules governing good faith negotiations for retransmission consent.”

Wheeler: ‘I’m Following Reagan’ On STBs

Speaking at the House Energy and Commerce Committee’s broader oversight hearing focused on the FCC Tuesday, agency Chairman Tom Wheeler seemed aware he was talking to a committee led by Republicans. “I am following President Reagan’s good advice, ‘trust, but verify,” Wheeler said to the committee regarding a recent pay TV industry counter-proposal to his set-top regulation plan.

Sen. Thune Accuses Wheeler Of Partisanship

Sen Commerce Committee Chairman John Thune lit into FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler from the floor of the Senate Thurs, criticizing press leaks and accusing him of partisanship.

Senators Question FCC Repack Time, Money

Democrats Maria Cantwell and Jeanne Shaheen ask FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler to provide an analysis of whether the $1.75 billion and 39-month time frame are adequate for the repack “within 105 days after the completion of the forward portion of the [incentive] auction.”

Wheeler: Yes To JSA Ban, No To SSA Ban

In a proposal circulated to the other commissioners, FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler would keep most of the broadcast ownership rules as is. However, he would modify the local TV ownership limits, restoring the ban against joint sales agreements that was knocked out by the courts and prohibiting network affiliations swaps. And while the proposal would require stations to report shared services agreements, it would forbear from restricting them “at this time.” The proposal is subject to a vote by the full commission.

Reid Airs Concerns Over FCC Cable Box Plan

Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid is voicing concerns with FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler’s plan to open up the market for set-top boxes. Both Senate leaders have now raised concerns with Wheeler’s proposal. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell wrote a letter to Wheeler this month saying that it was unnecessary for the FCC to involve itself in an area where there is already innovation.

Wheeler To Congress: No STB Study Needed

FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler appeared to rebuff a request by lawmakers to delay consideration of his proposed plan to open up the market for television set-top boxes in a letter Wednesday.

INTX 2016

Wheeler: Cable Needs To Welcome Change

Addressing a depleted, surprisingly docile general assembly crowd today at INTX, FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler steered clear from the specifics of three controversial proposals targeting the cable industry.

JESSELL AT LARGE

FCC’s STB Plan Has Big Potential To Disrupt

The commission (read Chairman Tom Wheeler) wants to let third parties (read Google) offer cable and satellite subscribers alternatives to the system-supplied set-top boxes, claiming that would protect consumers from egregious monthly rental fees. Both broadcasters and cable have raised legitimate objections to the idea, arguing that it could disrupt the current broadcasting-cable ecosystem in many harmful ways. Let’s hope the clock runs out on Wheeler.

How FCC’s Wheeler Became Cable’s Foe

NAB 2016

Wheeler On Broadcasters’ 3.0 Push: ‘Hooray’

The FCC Chairman tells an NAB Show audience: “Hooray for the creative thinking of the broadcast community that brought ATSC 3.0 from an idea into reality. We need to move with dispatch to get that in the public debate.” He says the proposal will be put out for comment by the end of the month. He also says the FCC will announce how much spectrum it wants by the end of the month and reassures broadcasters that he will lead the push to get more money for the post-auction repack if that proves necessary.

Wheeler Mum On Stepping Down Post-Obama

FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler says it is still too early to make a firm commitment to step down at the end of President Obama’s term. During a C-SPAN interview recorded Thursday, the chairman was asked multiple times whether he would step down and why he had so far declined to make a firm commitment. He brushed off a question on whether he fears the commitment would make him a “lame duck.”

JESSELL AT LARGE

The FCC’s Retrans Coin Is Up In The Air

Heads, the FCC listens to CBS’s Les Moonves and other broadcasters who are urging it to leave the retrans rules alone so they can continue to get fee increases. Tails, the agency agrees with Massillon Cable TV’s Bob Gessner and other cable operators who contend retrans needs to be overhauled to decrease broadcasters’ leverage and curtail the fees. How the coin will land is anybody’s guess — and the coin is worth billions.

FCC Moves To Tighten Internet Privacy

According to the FCC, ISPs collect vast amounts of data on what websites individual customers are visiting and what apps they are using. Mobile carriers can even track the movements of their customers. Under the new rules proposed today, the FCC would not flat-out prohibit ISPs from using any of the data. Rather, it would leave it up to the customers, using an opt-in/opt-out approach.

Wheeler Pledges Cable STB Choices, Privacy

When FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler officially unveils his long-awaited proposal next week to disrupt cable set-top boxes, it’ll contain a set of privacy provisions aimed at making sure new cable-box manufacturers don’t abuse the data they collect on viewer behaviors.