Federal Communications Commission member Mignon Clyburn yesterday shared her position on broadband adoption, incentive auctions, spectrum, and consumer protection in her testimony before the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation. As usual, Ms. Clyburn was able to communicate her progressive stance on the issues with an increasingly moderate tone. Given her political pedigree and her business background, I am not surprised that she can attempt to sell her policy positions without sounding like the typical inside-the-beltway politician.
As rumors continue to circle about FCC chairman Julius Genachowski’s possible departure from the FCC, it becomes increasingly necessary to listen to Ms. Clyburn’s tone and policy positions. She is the senior Democrat on the board and I would think she would be in the running for the chairman’s seat.
As Ms. Clyburn served cups of the usual punch bowl concoction that progressives enjoy getting drunk on, Ms. Clyburn failed to paint a more holistic picture of the role of the FCC and broadband deployment in commerce. The narrow focus on broadband prices and adoption is disappointing and one would think that after seventeen years of universal service support and four years after the Obama administration and a friendly Democratic Congress at the time put another $7.2 billion worth of broadband stimulus into the market resulting still in sub par broadband adoption that one commissioner would discuss an alternative approach to broadband adoption. Ms. Clyburn didn’t.
Spiking the punch bowl with a little discussion on e-commerce and increasing capital flow to carriers would provide the type of “Cruzan Rum” impact that the broadband discussion needs.