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Jessica Rosenworcel Named Acting FCC Chair

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Jessica Rosenworcel, the senior Democrat on the Federal Communications Commission, was named acting chair of the agency by President Biden on Thursday.

The FCC is currently split 2-2, following the resignation of Ajit Pai, who served as chairman during the Trump administration. Biden will appoint a third Democrat, who will require Senate confirmation, to serve on the commission.

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Rosenworcel was seen as a leading contender to lead the agency under Biden.

“I am honored to be designated as the Acting Chairwoman of the Federal Communications Commission by President Biden,” Rosenworcel said in a statement. “I thank the President for the opportunity to lead an agency with such a vital mission and talented staff. It is a privilege to serve the American people and work on their behalf to expand the reach of communications opportunity in the digital age.”

Once they have a 3-2 majority, the Democrats on the commission are expected to restore net neutrality, the regulation that forbids throttling and toll lanes on the internet. Repealing net neutrality, in the name of open competition, was a signature achievement of Pai’s tenure.

Comcast’s chief legal officer, Tom Reid, issued a statement praising Rosenworcel’s appointment.

“She has distinguished herself in her service as a Commissioner, and her knowledge of the communications industry is invaluable as the Commission tackles the digital future of communications,” he said. “We congratulate Chairwoman Rosenworcel on her well-deserved appointment and look forward to continuing to work with the FCC under her leadership.”

Rosenworcel has supported net neutrality, as well as efforts to expand broadband access to poor and rural communities. She has focused on making sure that students have adequate broadband access to participate in school from home.

Rosenworcel, 49, has been twice confirmed by the Senate to serve on the commission. Before that, she was a communications counsel to the Senate Commerce Committee and worked as a communications lawyer in Washington.

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