After weeks of speculation, President Joe Biden on Monday formally announced the nomination of Anna Gomez to fill a vacancy at the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).
The announcement followed a report that claimed Biden was leaning toward nominating Gomez for the role; she currently serves as the deputy administrator of the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), a unit of the Department of Commerce, where she advises Biden and others on telecom-related policy matters.
Gomez is Biden’s second nomination to fill former FCC Commissioner Ajit Pai’s chair in the last two years. His first nominee, attorney Gigi Sohn, faced intense scrutiny from Congressional lawmakers on both sides of the aisle over some of her social media activity, which reflected controversial viewpoints on media and policy-related issues. Sohn withdrew from consideration in early March.
Gomez’s nomination is likely to see a less-contentious Senate confirmation than Sohn, and has already generated favorable endorsements from telecom companies.
“Anna Gomez’s deep knowledge across the breadth of issues before the FCC makes her exceptionally qualified to be a Commissioner,” Tom Reid, the chief legal officer at Comcast, said in a statement e-mailed to The Desk on Monday. “In addition to her prior service at the FCC, she also has extensive experience in both the executive and legislative branches of government – from NTIA and the Senate, and most recently leading the U.S. delegation to the ITU World radio conference. From the digital broadcast transition to spectrum issues, Ms. Gomez has expertise across the board.”
The National Association of Broadcasters (NAB), a trade group representing over-the-air radio and television broadcast stations and their owners, also congratulated Gomez on her nomination. NAB has at least one big reason to be excited for Gomez’s nomination: Gomez developed and oversaw a national coupon program that allowed millions of Americans to obtain converter boxes during the national analog-to-digital television conversion more than a decade ago. The industry is seeing a similar transformation away from the old digital standard, called ATSC 1.0, to the new one called ATSC 3.0, which goes by the consumer brand NextGen TV.
“With NextGen TV launching in markets around the country, if confirmed, Ms. Gomez can bring her demonstrated ability to work with industry, manufacturers and consumers to help ensure a smooth and expeditious transition for millions of Americans,” the organization said.