Six months after declaring that Tom Wheeler was leading a “relentless government assault” against the cable industry, NCTA President and CEO Michael Powell struck a more conciliatory tone to mark the FCC chairman’s imminent departure.
“We thank Chairman Wheeler for his service to the American people as leader of the Federal Communications Commission,” Powell said in a statement. “Chairman Wheeler has presided over the Commission during a period of significant change and exciting innovation in the communications marketplace. Chairman Wheeler’s mantra from the beginning of his tenure has been ‘competition, competition, competition,’ and he should be proud that American consumers are enjoying the benefits of today’s vibrant and highly competitive video and broadband sectors.”
The Democratic FCC Chair announced Thursday that he’d step down on Jan. 20, the same day that far-right President-elect Donald Trump takes office.
A former cable industry lobbyist himself, Wheeler led a series of recent regulatory efforts that were highly unpopular in the cable industry, including an abandoned attempt to reform the leased set-top box business.
For his part, American Cable Association President and CEO Matthew Polka conceded that his org didn’t always “see eye to eye” with Wheeler during his stint as FCC chair.
"The decision not to fully address the broken retransmission consent regime was a disappointment,” Polka said in a statement. “But under Chairman Wheeler's direction, the FCC did take some key steps to curb TV stations' abuse of their regulatory advantages over smaller multichannel video programming distributors (MVPDs), including, but not limited to, the FCC's landmark decision in March, 2014 to ban retransmission consent collusion among non-commonly owned TV stations serving in the same local market."