Most upvoted comment
FCC overturns state laws that protect ISPs from local competition(r/technology)
No, he did not. If you look at his entire career, this is entirely consistent and expected.
Yes, he was once head of the main cable trade group. That was 30 years ago, at a time when cable was the scrappy underdog alternative to big broadcasting. It was also a time when the public internet did not even exist, so his stint with the cable industry was all about television.
Yes, later he was head of the main wireless trade group. That started at a time when cell phones were just starting to move from expensive, rare items that would get people to stare at you in awe and wonder when you used one in public to expensive, but reasonably prevalent items. He was in that position up through the point where cell phones started to become ordinary, and cellular internet was just starting to get to the point where it was useful.
One of his main roles in that job was representing the industry in front of the FCC, and it was his suggestions, proposals, and feedback that played a big role in shaping the Title II framework that was used to regulate wireless voice. That has been a huge success both from a consumer point of view and an industry point of view.
Between and after the above two jobs, he’s done a variety of things. Some had nothing to do with telecom (he started an aerospace component repair company, did venture capital stuff, has been on boards of things like PBS and the Kennedy Center). Some had plenty to do with telecom…including an attempt to start a high speed information service that failed because he could not get the cable companies to let him have access. In other words, he had a business of his fail because there was a lack of net neutrality.
He also managed somewhere in there to write a book a history book called Mr. Lincoln’s T-Mails: How Abraham Lincoln Used the Telegraph to Win the Civil War.
It’s pretty clear that at heart Wheeler is a telecom policy nerd. Both times that he has taken jobs as industry representatives (the cable job and the wireless job) have been at times when those industries have been at their formative stages, where they had great potential to provide much good for consumers and society, and under his tenure in those positions those industries in fact moved them well along that path.
This is exactly the kind of guy you want to appoint to regulatory agencies. A nerd in the relevant field. Experience with the industry being regulated. A track record of making things better for both the industry and the consumer when he lead the industry trade groups.
I’ve never understood why people think that there is something suspicious about regulators coming from the regulated industry. Where else would they come from? If we are searching for a new head for the FAA, for example, we want someone with intimate knowledge of aviation law and policy and the aviation industry. Are we supposed to try to find a farmer, or a doctor, or a sales manager who just happens to have aviation law and policy as his passionate hobby and has become an expert in it?