Tuesday, May 10, 2011

FCC Commissioner Meredith Baker Takes Job with Comcast

Just months after voting to approve the Comcast-NBC Universal merger, FCC Commissioner Meredith Attwell Baker has resigned to take up a new job as senior vice president of governmental affairs for Comcast. In announcing her decision to take up the new post, Baker did not address the apparent conflict of interest.

Meredith Attwell Baker, a Republican, was nominated for a seat on the FCC by President Barack Obama on June 25, 2009. Previously, she served as Acting Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Communications and Information and Acting Administrator of the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA). She was previously Vice President at the firm of Williams Mullen Strategies, where she focused on telecommunications, intellectual property, and international trade issues. Earlier, she held the position of Senior Counsel at Covad Communications from 2000 to 2002, and Director of Congressional Affairs at the Cellular Telecommunications Industry Association (CTIA) from 1998 to 2000.

In written statements posted on the FCC website, all four of the other FCC commissions expressed their congratulations and admiration for Baker.

  • In approving the Comcast-NBCU mega-merger, the FCC and the Department of Justice imposed a number of conditions and commitments which generally will remain in effect for seven years. Among these, online video distributors (OVDs) are guaranteed the ability to obtain Comcast-NBCU programming. Comcast must also offer standalone broadband Internet access services at "reasonable" prices and of sufficient bandwidth so that customers can access online video services without the need to purchase a cable television subscription from Comcast.