Trump adds two advisers to FCC transition team

By:
James Pearce
Published on:

Bandwidth CEO David Morken and Aalborg University professor Roslyn Lawton added to President-elect's FCC line-up

Donald Trump has named two more advisers to his landing team for the Federal Communications Commission as he prepares to take the US Presidency later this month.

Republic Wireless co-founder David Morken and Aalborg Universtiy professor Roslyn Layton will join the FCC transition team, which will help set policies at the telecoms regulator.

Morken is currently CEO of Bandwidth.com, an OTT messaging and voice provider that offers APIs for integrating communications services into smartphone apps and enterprise solutions. It offers voice over IP services (VoIP), which can connect to Sprint’s network when WiFi is unavailable.

Unlike previous appointments made by the President-elect, Morken is not an outspoken opponent of net neutrality, which has been a bane of contention between the FCC and telecoms operators after the regulator brought in strict rules last year.

Trump has previously appointed candidates with connections to the telecoms industry, including Jeff Eisenach, who had worked with Verizon; and Mark Jamison, who was part of Sprint’s lobbying team. Both had expressed opposition to net neutrality rules brought in by outgoing FCC chairman Tom Wheeler, who will step down later this month.

Layton has expressed views on the FCC’s net neutrality rules more in line with Trump’s, however. Layton, who like Eisenach and Jamison is a contributor to the American Enterprise Institute, warned that the FCC’s decision to place restrictions on Internet Service Providers (ISPs) after years of no regulation could stunt growth in the sector.

She also advised that the FCC should have adopted softer net neutrality rules, as it had offered no economic evidence to support its stance.

Countries with hard rules (Netherlands, Chile, and Slovenia) have experienced a decline their respective edge provider innovation since adopting hard rules,” Layton wrote on June 14, 2016. “It is no surprise Google and Netflix, which lobby heavily for the rules, have increased their market share particularly in countries with hard rules.”

“Regulatory agencies need to be at an arm’s length from politics, make evidenced-based assessments, and ensure that decisions about critical industries do not amount to the handing out of political favours,” Layton wrote on Sept. 6, 2015.”

Trump is due to be sworn-in as the 45th President of the United States on 20 January, and Verizon has already announced plans to upgrade its network to handle the expected uplift in traffic in Washington during the ceremony.