Republican FCC nominee Robert McDowell will be the focus of a nomination hearing before the U.S. Senate Commerce Committee this afternoon.

Currently the assistant general counsel for CompTel—a trade association of competitive telecom carriers—McDowell was nominated by President George W. Bush to fill the lone vacant seat at the FCC. If his nomination is approved, he would be the third Republican on the commission, which has split 2-2 along party lines since former Chairman Michael Powell resigned a year ago.

The nomination hearing is scheduled to begin at 3:15 p.m. (EST) and will be Webcast at http://commerce.senate.gov/hearings/witnesslist.cfm?id=1794.