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Senate confirms two FCC commissioners to additional terms

Brendan Carr and Geoffrey Starks will serve five-year terms.

Brendan Carr and Geoffrey Starks will serve five-year terms.

The front of the Federal Communications Commission building in Washington, D.C. (FCC public domain image)
The front of the Federal Communications Commission building in Washington, D.C. (FCC public domain image)

The U.S. Senate over the weekend confirmed two Federal Communications Commission (FCC) officials to new five-year terms.

Brendan Carr will stay on as an FCC commissioner through June 2028, with his five-year term retroactive to July 1 of this year. Geoffrey Starks will serve a similar five-year term retroactive to July 1 of last year, with his term expiring in June 2027.

With the additional confirmation of Commissioner Anna Gomez that occurred last month, the FCC will be fully staffed for at least four years, unless a commissioner resigns.

“With a complete Senate-confirmed Commission, the FCC is now ready to take on our full slate of work and fulfill our commitment to ensuring Americans everywhere have access to the best, most reliable communication services in the world,” Jessica Rosenworcel, the chairperson of the FCC, said in a statement.

The current make-up of the FCC board skews left, with three of the five seats held by Democrat-nominated commissioners.

Already, the FCC under Rosenworcel has announced plans to revert back to Obama-era rules, including a resurrection of controversial network neutrality regulations that online services back and Internet service providers look at with some caution. Those rules, which state that Internet traffic should be treated equitably and without favor to any service or provider, were first implemented in 2015, only to be repealed two years later.

Last week, officials with ACA Connects, the trade group comprised of small- and mid-sized broadband providers, said they were “troubled” by a proposal rooted in the revival of network neutrality that would require smaller broadband providers to adhere to similar rules as copper-line telephone businesses.

“We support efforts in Congress to develop net neutrality legislation that adopts fair and comprehensive ‘rules of the road’ for the entire Internet ecosystem, including Big Tech,” Grant Spellmeyer, the president of ACA Connects, said in a statement. “But imposing burdensome new regulations on smaller broadband providers is not the solution.”

On Monday, Spellmeyer issued a second statement applauding the Senate confirmation that allowed Carr and Starks to serve new multi-year terms at the FCC.

“They are both devoted public servants who have played critical roles in advancing important communications policies, and both are highly knowledgeable and thoughtful on the issues,” Spellmeyer said. “We look forward to continuing to work with both Commissioners, including on policies to promote continued broadband deployment and close the digital divide.”

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About the Author:

Matthew Keys

Matthew Keys is the publisher of The Desk and reports on the business and policy matters involving the broadcast television, streaming video and radio industries. He previously worked for Thomson Reuters, Disney-ABC, Tribune Broadcasting and McNaughton Newspapers. Matthew is based in Northern California, has won numerous awards in the field of journalism, and is a member of IRE (Investigative Reporters and Editors).