FCC’s Copps resigns, makes way for Rosenworcel

Michael Copps, a senior Democratic member of the Federal Communications Commission, on Tuesday announced his expected resignation after one decade as the agency’s fiercest critic of media consolidation and one of its greatest proponents of Internet access rules.

Copps’ second term ends at the end of this Congressional session and President Obama has nominated Jessica Rosenworcel, one of Copps’ former staffers, to take his seat. Copps’ resignation is effective Jan. 1, unless Rosenworcel is confirmed sooner.

“Ubiquitous, opportunity-creating broadband and a resource-rich media capable of informing our civic dialogue are critically-important components of our future success as a people, and I intend to keep speaking about these challenges as a private citizen in the years ahead,” Copps said in a statement.

Copps, a historian and former chief of staff to Sen. Fritz Hollings (D-S.C.) during the 1970s and early 1980s, has consistently voted to prevent rules that would allow for more consolidation in media. During the Obama administration, he was a proponent of chairman Julius Genachowski’s controversial Internet access rules known as net neutrality. He was the sole commissioner to vote against Comcast’s joint venture with NBC Universal.

More recently, he supported Genachowski’s decision to oppose AT&T’s merger with T-Mobile.

Rosenworcel has said that if confirmed she will approach her job as commissioner with “humility.” Telecom industry experts point to her years pushing spectrum policy and net neutrality as a senior Senate Commerce Committee adviser as indications she will likely continue many of the same policy objectives as Copps.

Cecilia Kang is a senior technology correspondent for The Washington Post.

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