Tom Wheeler: Gutenberg, Google, Darwin & Beyond (Ep. 177)

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Tom Wheeler: Gutenberg, Google, Darwin & Beyond (Ep. 177)

Tom Wheeler joined Joe Miller to discuss Mr. Wheeler’s new book ‘From Gutenberg to Google: The History of Our Future’.

 

Bio

Chairman Tom Wheeler is a visiting fellow in Governance Studies at Brookings. Wheeler is a businessman, author, and was Chairman of the Federal Communication Commission (FCC) from 2013 to 2017.

For over four decades, Wheeler has been involved with new telecommunications networks and services. At the FCC he led the efforts that resulted in the adoption of Net Neutrality, privacy protections for consumers, and increased cybersecurity, among other policies. His chairmanship has been described as, “The most productive Commission in the history of the agency.” During the Obama-Biden Transition of 2008/09 Mr. Wheeler led activities overseeing the agencies of government dealing with science, technology, space and the arts.

As an entrepreneur, he started or helped start multiple companies offering innovative cable, wireless and video communications services. He is the only person to be selected to both the Cable Television Hall of Fame and the Wireless Hall of Fame, a fact President Obama joked made him “the Bo Jackson of telecom.”

Prior to being appointed Chairman of the FCC by President Obama, Wheeler was Managing Director at Core Capital Partners, a venture capital firm investing in early stage Internet Protocol (IP)-based companies. He is CEO of the Shiloh Group, a strategy development and private investment company specializing in telecommunications services. He co-founded SmartBrief, the Internet’s largest curated information service for vertical markets.

From 1976 to 1984 Wheeler was associated with the National Cable Television Association (NCTA) where he was President and CEO from 1979 to 1984. Following NCTA Wheeler was CEO of several high-tech companies, including the first company to offer high-speed delivery to home computers and the first digital video satellite service. From 1992 to 2004 Wheeler served as President and CEO of the Cellular Telecommunications & Internet Association (CTIA).

Mr. Wheeler wrote Take Command: Leadership Lessons from the Civil War (Doubleday, 2000), and Mr. Lincoln’s T-Mails: The Untold Story of How Abraham Lincoln Used the Telegraph to Win the Civil War (HarperCollins, 2006). His commentaries on current events have been published in the New York Times, Washington Post, USA Today, Los Angeles Times, and numerous other leading publications.

Mr. Wheeler served on President Obama’s Intelligence Advisory Board prior to being named to the FCC. Presidents Clinton and Bush each appointed him a Trustee of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. He is the former Chairman and President of the National Archives Foundation, and a former board member of the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS).

He is a proud graduate of The Ohio State University and the recipient of its Alumni Medal. He resides in Washington, D.C.

Resources

Brookings Governance Studies

From Gutenberg to Google: The History of Our Future by Tom Wheeler (Brookings, 2019)

Time to Fix It: Developing Rules for Internet Capitalism (Harvard: Kennedy, 2018)

The Root of the Matter: Data & Duty: Rules of the New Digital Economy Should Look to Old Common Law Traditions (Harvard: Kennedy, 2018)

The Supreme Court and House Democrats Breathe New Life into Net Neutrality (Brookings, 2018)

Who Makes the Rules in the new gilded age? (Brookings, 2018)

 

News Roundup

Elizabeth Warren proposes breaking up big tech

Senator Elizabeth Warren announced her proposal last week to reign in tech firms like Google, Amazon, and Facebook. The plan calls for potentially breaking up some mergers as well as new legislation. Senator Warren wants to break up Doubleclick and Google, Facebook and its subsidiaries Instagram and Whats App, and the Amazon/Whole Foods merger.

Politico reported Monday that Facebook removed ads that Elizabeth Warren placed on the social network which criticized Facebook and called for its breakup. Facebook backtracked after its attempt to silence Warren backfired.

Democrats announce net neutrality bill

Nancy Pelosi, on behalf of Democrats, introduced a new net neutrality bill last week. The bill is two pages long and would simply reinstate the 2015 Open Internet rules. The bill’s likely to pass the House where Ds hold the majority, but it faces a more uncertain future in the Senate and getting it over the presidents desk.

Trump details plan for government-owned 5G

Trump’s reelection campaign is proposing a plan that would give the government control of the nation’s 5G airwaves, allowing it to lease them out to carriers on a wholesale basis. Most carriers think the plan’s unworkable. But the plan is seen as an attempt to attract rural voters with spotty internet service.

Huawei sues the U.S.

Chinese device manufacturer Huawei, which the U.S. government has accused of spying and violating sanctions against Iran, has now sued the U.S. government for banning the company from doing business in the U.S.  The company filed in a U.S. District Court in Plano, Texas, where the company has its U.S. headquarters.

TMobile spent $195k at Trump hotel

TMobile’s expenditures at Trump’s DC hotel rose sharply after the company reported that it would be seeking to acquire Sprint. Since April of last year, when the merger was announced, TMobile has spent $195,000 at the hotel. But before the merger announcement, the company said that only two employees had stayed there. The FCC paused its review of the merger last week. This is the third time the FCC has paused the 180-day shot clock, which is now on day 122. The merger review has been going on for 8 months. It’s not clear why it was paused this time. But the hotel expenditures may have had something to do with it—especially since the White House actually approved the deal.

A ‘Greenbook’ for bigots

Finally, The Hill reported on Monday on a new app that launched which gives users a listing of MAGA-friendly establishments—places where they’re least likely to be made fun of or harassed for wearing their red MAGA hats, or that let them carry legally-concealed weapons … check it out it’s called 63Red—great way to figure out where not to go other than Cracker Barrel.

Events

House E&C Committee, Comms & Tech SubComm

Hearing on Legislating to Safeguard the Free and Open Internet

Tues., 3/12, 11:00AM

Rayburn 2322

 

House E&C Committee, Comms & Tech SubComm

The Impact of Broadband Investments in Rural America

Tues., 3/12, 2:30PM

Hart, Rm. 216

 

ACT

Voters to Policymakers: Bridging the Digital Divide Inlcudes Unlicensed Spetrum

Thurs., 3/14, 9:30AM

Dirksen, Rm. 562

 

 

Federal Communications Commission Monthly Meeting

Friday, 3/15, 12:30-2:30

445 12th St., NW

Washington, D.C.