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Watchdog FCC gets new overlord ... so, how about that net neutrality, eh?

Wheeler sworn in as director, names top staff, looks at todo list

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The new head of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has formally relaxed into his office chair.

The watchdog said Tom Wheeler was sworn in as director, and will now appoint his staff. Among the new faces set to take over at the telecoms regulator are chief of staff Ruth Milkman, and counselors Philip Verveer, Gigi B. Sohn and Diane Cornell.

The move signals the formal handover of control of the FCC to Wheeler from interim director Mignon Clyburn, who has held the position since Julius Genachowski relinquished the director's position in March.

"With critical work to be accomplished for the American people and the Internet becoming ever more important in the lives of consumers and businesses across the nation, this team provides an excellent mix of governmental, private-sector and public-interest expertise," Wheeler said of his new appointees.

"They will join the many talented and dedicated professionals of the FCC, as we work to continue serving the public interest during an era of great technological change."

Wheeler, meanwhile, will give up his seat at the board of directors for internet service provider Earthlink (which, in other news, still exists).

A former lobbyist for the wireless comms trade body CTIA, Wheeler has an extensive history in the telecoms space. Though he was seen as a favorite of the Obama administration, his nomination had been opposed by a handful of Democratic lawmakers who took issue with his past associations.

In taking over now, Wheeler will see the FCC through a series of challenges ranging from net neutrality and market consolidation to the reallocation of wireless spectrum space for use in new mobile broadband networks.

With his position sworn in and a staff in place, Wheeler now looks to move forward with his plans for the FCC. ®

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