In less than two months, the President-elect Donald Trump will swear in to become the 45th President of the United States of America. Once the inauguration ceremony slated for January 20th is completed, a new administration is set to replace the old one. That change will also affect the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), an independent agency of the federal government which has been regulating virtually all domestic communications for 82 years.
However, that could soon change as Mark Jamison — one of the two advisors appointed by Trump to assist in the FCC transition — argues that the Commission's jurisdiction should either be severely limited, or this agency should be eliminated altogether. In an article titled "Do we need the FCC?" published by Tech Policy Daily last month, Jamison argued that this independent agency is only really needed for licensing radio spectrum, which he believes would prevent malicious political interference. As for all other parts of the FCC's jurisdiction, Trump's top telecommunications advisor claims they could be delegated to state and federal departments. He concludes this train of thought by asserting that the FCC isn't really needed and could easily be replaced with a smaller independent agency which would just regulate radio spectrum licensing.
In another Tech Policy Daily article published last Tuesday, Jamison criticized the FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler for ineffective leadership, being influenced by "political opportunists," failing to consolidate the agency's internal divisions, and consequently destroying its credibility. While Jeff Eisenach — Trump's other telecommunications advisor — never advocated for the FCC to be scaled down like Jamison did, both of them strongly oppose net neutrality rules and have never criticized creations of media conglomerates. In fact, Eisenach even has a history of supporting them, which is significant because Trump himself recently described AT&T's proposed acquisition of Time Warner as the kind of deal which "destroys democracy." In light of that comment, it's not surprising that the President-elect caused a lot of confusion in the industry by appointing transition advisors which seemingly don't agree with most of his own publicly expressed viewpoints on the telecommunications business. In other words, the future of this sector in the United States is currently uncertain and only time will tell how the telecom industry will be regulated in the next four years and whether the FCC will even be the one to do it.