Anna Gomez Sparks Fresh Energy as FCC’s 5th Commissioner

The FCC now has its full lineup with the Senate confirming Anna Gomez as the fifth commissioner. This confirmation gives the agency the ability to take swift action in regulating communication and, potentially, space matters.

Gomez was nominated in June after facing Republican opposition to the previous candidate, Gigi Sohn. Once she takes office, she will be the third Democratic commissioner in the agency, which currently leans in favor of the administration’s party.

Under Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel, the FCC has focused on improving broadband access and updating space-related rules, following the unpopular tenure of Ajit Pai during the Trump administration. However, with an incomplete count of commissioners, the agency has been limited in its capabilities. Any politically contentious issues, like net neutrality, faced deadlock with a 2:2 split.

Though the FCC has accomplished what it could under the circumstances, the rules they oversee are thankfully less driven by partisanship. Broadband affordability and quality across the nation are shared goals among the agency’s members.

The confirmation of Anna Gomez now allows the FCC to operate as an independent expert agency, aligned with, but not under the control of, the executive branch. Senators like Ted Cruz opposed the confirmation, but the objections were disregarded.

Gomez’s fellow commissioners welcomed her with supportive statements, although it remains unclear what her vote will specifically lead to. There’s a possibility that under Chairwoman Rosenworcel’s leadership, the FCC may reinstate net neutrality rules with stronger legal support or implement new broadband privacy regulations amidst growing skepticism in the tech industry.

What happens next is yet to be determined, and we may gain more insight in the upcoming FCC meeting or through subsequent statements. The next meeting is scheduled for September 21st, where they will likely provide hints about the agency’s future plans.

In light of Anna Gomez’s confirmation, here are what the other commissioners had to say:

“Anna is a true expert, and her extensive experience will be an asset for the agency and the public we serve.” – Commissioner Geoffrey Starks

“Ms. Gomez has dedicated her career to public service…I am pleased to welcome her as a colleague and collaborate on policies to protect consumers and advance the interests of all Americans.” – Commissioner Brendan Carr

“Ms. Gomez’s commitment to public service is evident throughout her career. I anticipate a fruitful collaboration with her in faithfully serving the public interest in her new role as Commissioner.” – Commissioner Nathan Simington

And from Chairwoman Rosenworcel:

“Anna brings a vast knowledge of telecommunications, a strong record of public service, and a dedication to keeping the United States at the forefront of connectivity. Her international expertise will greatly benefit the agency. I look forward to working with her to ensure equal access to modern communication and to maintain the United States’ leadership in the digital age.”

Net Neutrality’s Eternal Struggle

As we celebrate the 50th anniversary of ethernet, it’s a good time to reflect on how this technology has connected the world in ways that were once only imagined in stories. However, amidst all the advancements, there is a fundamental aspect that ties everything together, known as net neutrality. Net neutrality is a set of principles that holds great importance in the policy landscape. It has been a recurring topic on The Verge, and it’s a story that continues as long as there are people connected to the internet. The internet cables that bind us also have a significant impact on human politics, analogous to the roads that have linked people for centuries.

The internet has become an incredibly diverse space, catering to various users’ needs. For some, it’s as simple as using the Facebook app on their phone. Others find entertainment in platforms like TikTok and Fortnite. And there are those who remember the days of Delphi forums and IRC chatrooms. Regardless of how each individual perceives the internet, its existence is made possible by a complex global infrastructure. In the early days, this infrastructure operated under the idea that all internet data should be treated equally. This means that internet service providers (ISPs) shouldn’t favor certain types of content over others. This principle is the essence of net neutrality, ensuring that users can freely access any website or service without discrimination.

However, as the internet evolved into a powerful economic force, internet service providers became more dominant, leading to a recurring pattern of greed. This sparked a fight for net neutrality, which involved a coalition of supporters who believed that the internet’s openness should be protected by law. On the other side were powerful interests that saw profit potential in controlling access to the internet. Unfortunately, in this battle, there were some innocent casualties who were unintentionally affected.

While progress may seem unstoppable, the truth is that even the best laws and regulations require ongoing maintenance. They need to be upheld and adapted by every generation. Recent years have shown us the importance of having collective faith in our institutions, and the internet is no exception. It’s more than just a network of tubes. Despite its flaws, the internet represents a hopeful belief that we can connect, learn, and grow together. This is what We stands for and why the fight for net neutrality is still worth it.