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Clyburn, Baker Confirmed For FCC

7/24/2009 2:06 PM Eastern

The fulll Senate has approved the nominations of Mignon Clyburn and Meredith Attwell Baker to the two remaining seats on the FCC, according to a spokesmperson for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.

That means the commission could be at full strength--five commissioners--by next week.

The vote came Friday afternoon by unanimous consent, which meant a vote was not taken.

"It is with great pleasure that I congratulate Mignon L. Clyburn on her Senate confirmation." said FCC chairman Julius Genachowski in a statement."Mignon's deep commitment to public service, experience in state government, and entrepreneurial expertise will be invaluable assets to this agency. I enthusiastically await Mignon's arrival at the FCC and the opportunity to collaborate with her on advancing our shared goal of improving the lives of all Americans through communications. With the full slate of Commissioners on board, I look forward to working with all of my colleagues on policies that promote innovation, investment, competition, and consumers."
Commenting on Baker's confirmation, Genachowski said: "I am delighted to congratulate Meredith Attwell Baker on her Senate confirmation. Meredith is a distinguished public servant who will bring unique insight and expertise to bear in the agency's policymaking process. I enthusiastically await Meredith's arrival at the FCC and the opportunity to collaborate with her on advancing our shared goal of improving the lives of all Americans through communications. With the full slate of Commissioners on board, I look forward to working with all of my colleagues on policies that advance innovation, investment, competition, and consumers."

Clyburn got her first national public vetting July 15 as she and Baker answered questions from Senators during their nomination hearing to fill the two remaining unfilled FCC commission chairs. Both were praised by both sides and their nominations vocally supported by numerous committee members.

Baker is the former acting head of the National Telecommunications & Information Administration. Clyburn is a South Carolina utility regulator and daughter of House Majority Whip James Clyburn (D-S.C).

Baker is fulfilling the unexpired term of former FCC chairman Kevin Martin, which runs through June 30, 2011. Clyburn gets a full five years, taking the seat vacated by Deborah Taylor Tate, whose term expired in January.

Clyburn got her first national public vetting July 15 as she and Baker answered questions from Senators during their nomination hearing to fill the two remaining unfilled FCC commission chairs. Both were praised by both sides and their nominations vocally supported by numerous committee members.

Clyburn said she would be consumer- and public-interest focused. She gave a shout out for high-speed and affordable broadband, said the opposed the fairness doctrine "in any way shape or form," supported Internet openness, and was wary of media consolidation.

Baker also disavowed the doctrine and talked about the importance of broadband, including incentives to business. She said she would be wary of new network neutrality regulations in a marketplace that seemed to be working. She said she supported an open Internet, but that reasonable network management was necessary so that operators could block access to illegal content, like porn and pirated copyright works. She noted that the current system of swift enforcement of openness violations was working and the way to proceed.

Clyburn agreed that when she was talking about openness, it applied to legal content. She said that network operators should have "reasonable tools" to control what goes over their networks. She said that whether network neutrality regs were needed would depend on whether the market was competitive. If so, there might be no need, but if not, it warranted consideration.

In what might not bode well for fans of newspaper-broadcast cross-ownership, both Baker and Clyburn said they had concerns about concentration of control of broadcast ownership, though the former did point to a changing marketplace of increasing competition.

 

Also getting Senate confirmation Friday in the same uninmous consent vote was former FCC commissioner Jonathan Adelstein. He has been tapped by the Obama administration to head the AG Department's Rural Utilities Service.

The move will only be a couple blocks from his former FCC digs, which is probably just as well. Adelstein will be working closely with the FCC and NTIA on broadband deployment. RUS has $2.5 billion in broadband stimulus grant and loan money to give out, a process that began earlier this month.

 

 

September