April 9, 2013

Dear Mr. President: We know how strongly you feel about the importance of an open and competitive telecommunications market, the importance of world-class high-speed Internet access to all Americans, and the need for the country to maintain a strong, innovative, and secure infrastructure for public safety and national security. That is why we are writing to support your consideration of Tom Wheeler to be Chairman of the Federal Communications Commission. We know Tom well. We have seen up close his strength of will. He will have an open mind and an intelligent take on the challenges that will confront the new Chairman. Tom has had an impressive career in the telecommunications and high-tech field that makes him eminently qualified for this position. He has consistently fought on the side of increasing competition, including representing the cable television and wireless industries in their early years when they were the insurgents challenging the established players. He has started or helped to start multiple new, high-tech companies that created quality American jobs while pushing the frontiers of technological innovation. He understands the importance of reclaiming the pro-competition, proinnovation, pro-growth regulatory ideal. You will recall that during the 2008 Transition Tom and his team briefed you on the problems you had inherited in connection with the nation's transition to digital television. Based on that recommendation, you urged Congress to briefly delay the implementation of the conversion and instructed that the time be used to put corrective solutions in place. That delay and the programs it permitted to be implemented meant that the conversion ultimately went ahead smoothly. We are confident that the focus and knowledge of spectrum issues that Tom brought to that undertaking will serve the Commission well once again in the execution of the upcoming auction of broadcast spectrum. Tom is also a person who has applied his expertise to the challenges of a civil society. His service on the Public Broadcasting Service Board, his chairmanship of the UN Foundation’s Mobile Health Alliance (aimed at bringing the benefits of mobile-enabled health to citizens of developing countries), the programs he began in the wireless industry for connecting schools, protecting neighborhoods and domestic violence victims, all testify that he believes that technology and business can improve the common good. Finally, Mr. President, Tom Wheeler knows the FCC. He supported and was closely involved with the two pieces of legislation that gave the agency its present authority over both cable and wireless. He is presently the Chairman of the FCC’s Technological Advisory Council, which advises the agency on future policy issues as well as how the agency can support innovation, investment, and job creation in the short term. He would be able to hit the ground running.

For all these reasons, we urge your consideration of Tom Wheeler to be the next Chairman of the Federal Communications Commission. Sincerely,

Susan Crawford, Former Special Assistant to the President for Science, Technology and Innovation Policy; former co-leader Obama-Biden Transition Team on the FCC Phil Weiser, Former Senior Advisor for Technology and Innovation; former Deputy Assistant Attorney General for Antitrust Sonal Shah, Former Director, White House Office of Social Innovation and Civic Participation Phil Verveer, Former U.S. Ambassador and Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for International Communications and Information Policy; Former Chief Common Carrier Bureau and Chief Wireless Bureau, FCC Larry Irving, Former Administrator, National Telecommunications and Information Administration and Assistant Secretary of Commerce Decker Anstrom, Former U.S. Ambassador and Head of Delegation, World Radio Conference 2012 Terry Kramer, Former U.S. Ambassador and Head of Delegation, World Conference on International Telecommunications Andy Schwartzman, Former President, Media Access Project Kevin Werbach, Former co-leader Obama-Biden Transition Team on the FCC; former Counsel for New technology Policy, FCC David Aylward, Founder, Comcare Emergency Response Alliance; former Chief Counsel/Staff Director, Telecommunications and Finance Subcommittee, U.S. House of Representatives Paul de Sa, Former Chief, Office of Strategic Planning and Policy Analysis, FCC