Under his leadership, the FCC also passed sweeping privacy measures that blocked broadband providers from selling user data to third parties; launched an effort to break up the cable industry’s monopoly on set-top boxes; made information on political ads more readily available; and proposed rules to subsidize the internet for low-income consumers under the Lifeline program.

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Gene Kimmelman, president of the digital rights group Public Knowledge, said in response to the announcement, “Chairman Wheeler has done more to promote competition and consumer protection than any chairman in recent memory. Consumers owe him an enormous debt of gratitude for his steadfast commitment to making our digital future fair and accessible for all. Though Americans are losing a great consumer protection champion, we will all benefit from his legacy and the policies he’s leaving behind.”

However, with Wheeler’s resignation, the FCC will kick off the Trump administration with a 2-1 Republican majority, with Clyburn as the only remaining Democrat—giving conservatives a path to reversing or weakening some of those advances. Republicans and telecommunications giants resisted the commission’s net neutrality proposal to the end.

“Industry lobbyists are dusting off their worst proposals. And the team leading the agency’s transition has even called for abolishing the FCC,” Aaron said. “We thank Tom Wheeler for his public service. And we promise to fight any attempts to attack the best policies advanced during his tenure.”

Public Knowledge vice president Harold Field added, “In the days ahead, the public must be prepared to fight vigorously to keep the consumer protections he created.”

Cyril concluded, “While we did not always agree on every issue, and always believe more can be done to close the digital divide and protect the most vulnerable communities, no one can dispute that chairman Wheeler is leaving a remarkable legacy.”

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