Net neutrality advocate Tom Wheeler stepping down as FCC chairman

FCC Chair Tom Wheeler to step down January 20th

FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler announced his resignation Thursday, effective at the end of President Barack Obama's term.

As the Federal Communications Commission chairman, Wheeler was a proponent of net neutrality, the principle that says internet service providers should treat all internet traffic equally. President-elect Donald Trump has said net neutrality regulations are just another way to attack conservative media.

Trump tweet

On Friday, the Senate failed to reconfirm Wheeler ally Jessica Rosenworcel. When Wheeler steps down on Jan. 20, Republicans will hold a 2-1 majority on the commission.

"Serving as F.C.C. Chairman during this period of historic technological change has been the greatest honor of my professional life. I am deeply grateful to the President for giving me this opportunity," Wheeler said in a statement.

"It has been a privilege to work with my fellow Commissioners to help protect consumers, strengthen public safety and cybersecurity, and ensure fast, fair and open networks for all Americans."

Wheeler, appointed by Obama, became the 31st chairman of the agency in 2013, according to FCC's website. Prior to becoming FCC chairman, Wheeler was managing director at Core Capital Partners.

FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler listens during the net neutrality hearing in Washington on Feb. 26, 2015.
Yuri Gripas | Reuters