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Global Media and Communications Watch The International Legal Blog for the Tech, Media and Telecoms Industry
Posted in Telecoms & Broadband Camillie Landron

Tom Sullivan Reflects on His Role as International Bureau Chief

During his remarks at the Winnik Forum, International Bureau Chief Tom Sullivan reflected on the challenges and opportunities of his role as the United States’ top communications diplomat.  “Everyone wants to know what the FCC is doing,” he said.  This interest affords the United States, and the FCC, significant opportunities to exert influence on the most pressing issues at the international level.

According to Sullivan, however, actually convincing other countries to collaborate—or even agree—on priorities, is no easy task.  When relating recent successes sharing best practices with developing countries, Sullivan said the hard and long hours his team invested to earn the trust of other stakeholders represent a threshold requirement for successfully tackling controversial issues.  Sullivan said he considers the current FCC’s efforts to make emergency communications and cybersecurity to be the agency’s foremost priorities.  He also said he remained optimistic about the FCC’s ability to implement its ambitious plans over the next few years.

As to other key areas of focus, Sullivan said achieving international consensus on spectrum allocations and assignments, especially with Canada and Mexico, remained a key priority.  The FCC’s spectrum-related efforts will soon take center stage as countries work to harmonize spectrum bands for next-generation wireless services and as national administrations prepare for the next World Radiocommunication Conference in 2019.