Biden Transition Team FCC Advisers

By Kelcee Griffis, Nov 17, 2020 | Original Law360 article here.

President-elect Joe Biden has tapped a former Federal Communications Commission member and a DLA Piper partner as part of his FCC transition team.

The incoming administration named a transition team help steer telecommunications policy and recommend appointments for the FCC and other agencies with jurisdiction over telecom issues, according to Biden’s transition website.

The four-person transition team includes
John Williams, counsel to the House Judiciary Committee, and
Mignon Clyburn, a Democratic commissioner until 2018
Edward Smith, a telecom attorney specializing in wireless and satellite technology
Paul de Sa, a former partner with consulting firm McKinsey & Company.

All are volunteers, and Williams is listed as the team leader. Each of the transition team members has experience at the FCC .

Before his work with the House Judiciary Committee, Williams served in the FCC’s Office of General Counsel between 2015 and 2019, according to his online resume.

Smith, who worked on public interest elements of the Sprint/T-Mobile merger with DLA Piper, served as a legal adviser to former Democratic FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler and headed the FCC’s massive spectrum relocation project, the Incentive Auction Task Force. Smith joined DLA Piper in 2017 after leaving the FCC, according to his biography.

Clyburn, an Obama administration appointee to the agency in 2009, became the first woman to chair the FCC and established herself as a fierce advocate of net neutrality policies and government programs that help the underprivileged get and retain phone and internet service.

As one of her signature issues, Clyburn pushed for rules that governed internet service providers as utilities under Title II of the Communications Act, mandating that providers treat all web traffic equally. She also championed the FCC’s Universal Service programs, which offer subsidies to expand access to phone and internet service, and sought to lower the high per-minute call rates that inmates and their families must pay through private phone companies that contract with prisons and jails.

After leaving the FCC in 2018, she started her own consulting firm, working with Incompas on an initiative to convey the importance of competitive broadband networks to Congress and advocating for the Sprint/T-Mobile merger.

De Sa worked as an FCC official between 2009 and 2017, including a stint leading the FCC’s Office of Strategic Planning. He also helped write the U.S. National Broadband Plan, according to an online biography.