Mark Lloyd is the Director of the Media Policy Initiative at the New America Foundation. From 2009 to 2012, he served as associate general counsel and chief diversity officer at the Federal Communications Commission.
Last week, President Obama announced he would nominate his good friend and venture capitalist Tom Wheeler to lead the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). Wheeler will replace another Obama good friend and venture capitalist, Julius Genachowski, who leaves in his wake an agency more embattled than ever.
In announcing the nomination, the president noted that Wheeler is “the only member of both the cable television and the wireless industry hall of fame. So he’s like the Jim Brown of telecom or the Bo Jackson of telecom”; Wheeler was president of the National Cable Television Association (NCTA) from 1979 to 1984, and Chief Executive Officer of the Cellular Telecommunications & Internet Association (CTIA) from 1992 to 2004. He is currently managing director of Core Capital Partners, a venture-capital firm, and he has been a prolific fund-raiser for the president. By all accounts Wheeler—one of the very few FCC nominees who is not a lawyer—has been a successful businessman. But the larger question is: Can he make good on the president’s early promises to make the U.S. a 21st Century digital nation that reflects the diversity of our country?