FCC commissioner to resign: The Federal Communications Commission’s Robert McDowell announced during the panel’s open meeting Wednesday that he will resign his post in the coming weeks, but did not say what his future plans are.
McDowell, a Republican, has been serving a second term on the commission, having first been appointed in 2006. He was reappointed in 2009.
His resignation was expected, as the Washington Post reported, and many think it will pave the way for the resignation of FCC chairman Julius Genachowski, as McDowell’s resignation leaves Ajit Pai as the only Republican on the commission.
FCC chief counsel to leave agency: It’s a day of turnover at the FCC, with the agency announcing that chief counsel Sherrese Smith will also be leaving the agency in the coming weeks. He is the last remaining member of chairman Genachowski’s original team of legal advisors.
In an e-mailed statement, Genachowski said that it would be difficult for him to say goodbye to Smith, and credited her with leading the agency’s work on the issues of bill shock, online posting of files and broadcast spectrum issues.
Smith has served as the agency’s general counsel since January 2012. She was once the vice president and general counsel of Washington Post Digital.
Debate continues over medical apps: The House subpanel on health continued the debate over the regulation of medical apps Wednesday, hearing testimony from physicians and other medical experts on whether the Food and Drug Administration should define which health apps should be defined as medical devices.
Lawmakers are divided over how much the FDA should regulate apps and whether the agency, Congress or another body should be charged with making those distinctions.
The series of hearings will continue Thursday, with testimony from Dr. Farzad Mostashari of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and Christy Foreman of the Food and Drug Administration.
Verizon lobbies for a la carte cable: Verizon has emerged as an unlikely voice in the debate over whether cable customers should be able to pay for only the channels that they watch, The Washington Post reported.
Verizon’s advocacy for a la carte programming goes against a long-standing agreement between content providers and cable companies to bundle channels. But as consumers turn more to Internet-based video, cable companies such as Verizon have begun to look at other models for service.