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Jessica Rosenworcel. Photo: Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call

President Joe Biden on Tuesday nominated Jessica Rosenworcel to be chairwoman of the Federal Communications Commission, Alan Davidson to be head of the telecom arm of the Commerce Department, and Gigi Sohn to be commissioner at the FCC.

Why it matters: Internet availability and affordability has been a key policy priority for the White House, but the administration lagged in tapping people for the agency posts that oversee the issues.

Driving the news: Davidson, who opened Google's policy shop in D.C. in 2005, was most recently with Mozilla.

  • As head of the National Telecommunications and Information Administration, Davidson will have a key role in overseeing how states spend the $42.5 billion the Senate-approved infrastructure package would put toward broadband projects.
  • Rosenworcel, who would be the first permanent female head of the agency, has been leading the FCC on an interim basis since Biden took office. She's implemented pandemic-relief broadband programs including a $50 monthly discount off internet service for low-income households.
  • Sohn was an FCC adviser during the Obama administration and was pivotal in the development of the agency's net neutrality rules. Sohn, who is believed to be the first open member of the LGBTQ+ community to be a commissioner, is currently a distinguished fellow with the Georgetown Law Institute for Technology Law and Policy.

Between the lines: Rosenworcel has lined up support from senators, labor unions and teachers. Sohn is viewed as the progressives' pick for the agency.

What they're saying: The nominations were cheered by telecom industry players and public interest groups.

  • "Jessica Rosenworcel, Gigi Sohn, and Alan Davidson all have years of experience in fighting for the public interest in broadband policy, whether it is in government or the nonprofit sector," said Chris Lewis, president of advocacy group Public Knowledge, which Sohn co-founded.

What's next: All three posts require Senate confirmation. Senate Commerce Committee Chairwoman Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.) said in a statement she wants to consider the nominations before the end of the year.

Editor's note: This story has been updated with additional information about Rosenworcel and Sohn, the White House announcement of the nomination and reaction.

Go deeper

Overseas telcos: Make Big Tech pay more for bandwidth

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Overseas telecom providers, increasingly frustrated with American tech firms whose apps are gobbling up bandwidth, are pushing them to pay more for it.

Why it matters: Any effort to reslice the "cost of internet bandwidth" pie could shake up the entire industry, make new winners and losers, and put new pressure on U.S. tech giants.

Airlines call for Biden admin's "immediate intervention" in 5G deployment

Photo: Tayfun Coskun/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

The CEOs of leading U.S. air cargo and passenger carriers on Monday warned the Biden administration there could be "catastrophic disruption" after AT&T and Verizon deploy a new 5G service this week.

Driving the news: They said in a letter to Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg and other top federal officials ahead of the C-Band 5G service's deployment Wednesday that "the nation's commerce will grind to a halt" and "could potentially strand tens of thousands of Americans overseas."

Updated 3 hours ago - Energy & Environment

Thousands without power as "hazardous" winter storm lashes East Coast

Satellite imagery of the Northeastern U.S. taken by NOAA on Jan. 17. Photo: NOAA

A major winter storm lashed much of the East Coast Sunday and Monday, causing widespread power outages and disrupting travel over the holiday weekend.

The latest: Authorities in North Carolina confirmed that two people died in a car crash and that they responded 600 vehicle accidents during the storm on Sunday, per the Washington Post.