A new President, a new Congress. All Republican. What's in it for the media?
A new FCC? The new President will appoint new commissioners at the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), and, first of all, a new Chairman for the Commission (Tom Wheeler will probably exit the chair January 20, 2017). Will he choose a commissioner already in place or nominate a new one?
"Only three commissioners may be members of the same political party"; their term lasts 5 years.
|FCC commissioners, November 2016|
Which regulations could be changed by the new Commission? Which decisions could be made? Speculations go on, perhaps simply hot air. But Congress requests that the FCC refrain from “controversial” moves before Trump takes office and a new Congress meets.
First, the recent net neutrality rules (adopted in February 2015, in effect since June 2015). The rules were set "to keep the Internet fast, fair, and open. "Blocking, throttling, pay-for-priority fast lanes and other efforts to come between consumers and the Internet are now things of the past." said FCC chairman Tom Wheeler (June 2015). Could these rules be rolled back or weakened?
Then, the Time Warner and AT&T merger might be challenged. Will the FCC review the deal? During the campaign, Donald Trump said he would block the deal. The FCC would have to discuss this from a competition point of view : is the merger (vertical concentration) in the public interest?
What about the antiquated cross-ownership rules (1975)? These rules continue to prohibit media companies from owning newspapers and TV or radio stations within the same DMA. The FCC has reviewed these rules and upheld them. Will the new FCC abolish them?