Latest Trump FCC Pick Has Not Battled Net Neutrality Rules

Internet Providers Should Guarantee Equal Access to All Users, Obama Says
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) headquarters stands in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Monday, Nov. 10, 2014. President Barack Obama called for the "strongest possible rules" to protect the open Internet, advocating stricter controls than a regulator he appointed and causing shares of Comcast Corp. and other broadband providers to drop. Obama's comments tilt the White House against positions advocated by broadband providers and FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler. Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Photograph by Andrew Harrer —Bloomberg via Getty Images

The incoming administration of President-elect Donald Trump named another person to its transition team overseeing the Federal Communications Commission. And unlike past picks, this one has no record of criticizing net neutrality, the 2015 rules that prevent Internet service providers from slowing or blocking online content and services.

David Morken, co-founder of Republic Wireless and an entrepreneur from Raleigh, N.C., will join three prior Trump FCC transition team members in helping set policies at the agency that regulates telecommunications, cable TV, and the Internet, Politico reported on Thursday.

But unlike previous Trump FCC transition picks, Morken has no obvious and widespread record of speaking out against the agency’s moves in 2015 to protect competition on the Internet through net neutrality rules. Companies like AT&T (T) and Verizon have complained that the rules over-regulate the industry and deter investment in networks.

Rather, Morken was quoted in the Wall Street Journal on Dec. 9 expressing concern about the tilt of some of the earlier picks.

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“Traditional Republican telecom policy has favored incumbents who are heavily engaged in regulatory capture over innovators like us,” Morken was quoted saying in article about Trump’s expected FCC policies to demolish regulations that protect smaller players. Morken told the paper he was a lifelong Republican, but in “every election I have to choose between voting personal conviction or business interests.”

Fortune contacted Morken for comment and will update this story if we receive a response.

Trump’s first three picks had ties to the largest companies in the telecom sector and had written publicly against the FCC’s rules on net neutrality.

For more on the net neutrality battle, watch:

Jeff Eisenach, an economist who has been on Verizon’s (VZ) payroll, and Mark Jamison, who formerly worked on Sprint’s (S) lobbying team and now heads the University of Florida’s Public Utility Research Center, opposed the net neutrality rules and other policies of the FCC under Obama appointee Tom Wheeler. A third appointee, Roslyn Layton is a telecom industry consultant and visiting fellow at the American Enterprise Institute who has opposed both net neutrality and Internet privacy rules.

The two current Republican members of the FCC, Ajit Pai and Michael O’Rielly, have said rolling back the net neutrality rules will be a top priority next year. They will constitute a majority at the agency once Wheeler steps down, as he has pledged to do next month.

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