Julius Genachowski, a telecommunications industry executive, was sworn in as the new chairman of the Federal Communications Commission on Monday, an agency spokesman said.
The FCC's broad mandate includes regulation of telephone and cable companies, oversight of ownership of radio and television outlets and management of public airwaves.
Genachowski, who was approved by the U.S. Senate last week, will chair the five-member panel, which will be dominated by Democrats seeking to bring more power to consumers and extend high-speed Internet access to rural parts of the United States.
He was sworn in at the Supreme Court by Justice David Souter, an FCC spokesman said.
Expanding broadband Internet access to rural parts of the United States is among the top priorities that the Obama administration wants the FCC to tackle.
The FCC will help oversee billions of dollars in economic stimulus money that Congress approved in incentives for states and private companies to expand high-speed Internet in rural and underserved areas.
The FCC is required to submit a broadband plan to Congress by February.
Other issues the commission is expected to tackle include so-called net neutrality to prevent Internet services providers from giving preference to certain content, and whether consumers are getting short-changed by the exclusive deals between mobile phone makers and service providers.
(Reporting by John Poirier, editing by Gerald E. McCormick)