- Federal Communications Comiission Chairman Tom Wheeler announced Thursday he will step down on January 20, 2017, the day of the inauguration.
- Wheeler led the FCC for over three years. President-elect Trump hasn’t yet said who he’s considering to lead the agency.
- "Serving as FCC Chairman during this period of historic technological change has been the greatest honor of my professional life," Wheeler said in a statement. "It has been a privilege to work with my fellow Commissioners to help protect consumers, strengthen public safety and cybersecurity, and ensure fast, fair and open networks for all Americans."
Wheeler’s resignation was expected, as the head of the FCC commonly steps down once a new president takes over, but it also shifts the power at the organization to the Republican side, especially after the Senate failed to reconfirm Democratic Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel to a second term at the FCC last week.
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. Now it appears there is little in the way to stop them.
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 or transfer large amounts of content.