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US Senate confirms FCC commissioners

The U.S. Senate on Jan. 2 confirmed Geoffrey Starks as a commissioner of the Federal Communications Commission and Commissioner Brendan Carr for a new full term.

Starks most recently served as assistant chief in the Enforcement Bureau, while Carr has spearheaded wireless infrastructure modernization, according to an FCC release.

During his confirmation hearing, Starks stressed the need to expand rural broadband and the power of telemedicine.

Starks' term runs through June 2022 and Carr's through December 2023. Starks fills the last Democratic seat on the five-member FCC, which has had 3 Republican members and one Democratic member since earlier this year.

"The agreement to pair and confirm these nominees finally gives us a full FCC to decide important questions about spectrum management, the deployment of broadband to underserved communities, and building next generation wireless networks," Senator John Thune, chairman of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, said Jan. 2.

The FCC said Jan. 2 that should the U.S. government shutdown persist, the agency would suspend most operations by the middle of the day on Jan. 3. This includes pausing the shot clock on its review of the proposed merger between T-Mobile US Inc. and Sprint Corp., the third- and fourth-largest U.S. wireless carriers.