- The U.S. Senate on Friday failed to reconfirm Democratic Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel to a second term at the Federal Communications Commission.
- The move forced Rosenworcel out of office and opens the door for new Republican leadership at the agency as the Trump administration prepares to take office.
- Republicans have already hinted that they plan to make significant changes once they are in control, including potentially repealing net neutrality rules the Obama administration passed in 2015.
With Rosenworcel out and Chairman Tom Wheeler expected to leave the agency once Trump takes over in January, a Republican majority at the FCC is likely. Trump hasn’t yet said who he’s considering to lead the agency.
Last month, Trump appointed Jeff Eisenach and Mark Jamison to his transition team to help oversee his telecom policy agenda. Both Eisenach and Jamison have fought against net neutrality, and the fact that Trump has appointed them to his team indicate he is seriously looking at repealing the rules.
Net neutrality rules prevent internet providers from charging websites like Netflix and Facebook a fee to access users at faster speeds. Dissolving net neutrality rules would be a benefit to internet providers, but a setback for companies that stream large amounts of content.
However, changes won’t happen overnight. The process of reversing net neutrality rules could take a year or more, experts said.