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The Dragonslayer: An Interview With FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler

A year ago, FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler saved the Internet. In this exclusive interview, he tells us what’s next.


Two years ago, John Oliver called Tom Wheeler a dingo.

The host of “Last Week Tonight” had set his sights on the then-raging net neutrality debate, acerbically calling out broadband providers like Comcast and Verizon for their throttling antics and intense Congressional lobbying. Midway through the segment, Oliver dryly pointed to President Obama’s appointment of former cable and wireless lobbyist Wheeler as the new head of the Federal Communications Commission — “the equivalent of needing a babysitter and hiring a dingo.”

“[Now] that they are overseeing their own oversight, it is hardly surprising that cable companies are basically monopolies,” said Oliver.

This claim — that the FCC has been captured by the very interests it is supposed to regulate — has been around for years. The path from a Commission seat to an aisle seat inside Comcast’s private jet and vice versa has been wide open for years: former FCC Chairman Michael Powell is now the president of the National Cable and Telecom Association, which counts Comcast as its largest member. Former FCC Commissioner Meredith Baker … left the agency to work for Comcast. The list goes on.

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