Mignon Clyburn, one of the five commissioners of the Federal Communications Commission and a strong advocate of net neutrality, announced her decision to resign from her post today after more than eight years at the agency. Clyburn, a Democrat, can be replaced by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) official, Geoffrey Starks, that Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) has been looking to fill the second of two Democratic seats. in the FCC controlled by the Republicans. In general, it is common for the FCC commissioners to represent the ruling party, and President Donald Trump appointed Republican President Ajit Pai in January 2017.
While Clyburn's departure was expected, the loss of an advocate of net neutrality further diminishes the FCC's willingness to regulate Internet service providers. Last year, Pai led a vote to successfully eliminate net neutrality by repealing the Open Internet Order that reclassified telecommunications as public services under Title II of the Communications Act of 1934. Clyburn briefly executed the FCC for six months in 2013 as its first president of the official mandate of Tom Wheeler, nominated by Obama, that Clyburn helped push the FCC three years ago to approve the strictest net neutrality rules to date.
Clyburn helped Tom Wheeler devise the FCC's strictest net neutrality rules
In her time as president, Clyburn made numerous pro-competitive and pro-consumer advances in areas such as unlocking smartphones, accessing the Internet for minority and low-income communities, and per-minute rate limits for long-distance calls to inmates. . After Wheeler was replaced last year by Pai, who began orchestrating his net neutrality retreat, Clyburn fought vigorously to retain the consumer's Internet protections. He often addresses protesters in public forums to fight for the sanctity of the Internet and publicly denounced the decision to repeal Wheeler's order.
"But we, that is, the FCC, are supposed to be here to protect the experience and consumer interests when it comes to communications and other services," Clyburn told CNET last December. "We are supposed to be enablers of opportunities for both companies and individuals, how can we better balance the scales when it comes to regulating consumer protections and promoting innovation and investment? We use legally sustainable road rules so that there is a police officer on duty who can and enforces. "
In a statement, Acting Commissioner of the FCC Jessica Rosenworcel, the remaining Democrat on the commission, expressed her support for Clyburn and the work she did to protect the Internet in a statement given to Gizmodo:
Commissioner Clyburn has been an energetic advocate for change, equal opportunity and closing the digital divide. It was a privilege to support her historic leadership as Acting President. It has been an honor to work with her to put consumers first and provide connectivity to those who run the greatest risk of being left behind: urban, rural and everywhere. I am proud to have worked with her to support the neutrality of the network and grateful to have been her partner in her unwavering work to remedy the serious injustice of the exorbitant rates of prison phones. When leaving this agency, you should know that your legacy is intact because many of those who work in communications policy will continue to be guided by your excellent example. I consider myself among them.
In short, Commissioner Clyburn is a dynamo. She represents the best of public service. I'm proud to call her colleague and friend.
Pai also issued a statement today, congratulating Clyburn on his legacy, but acknowledging that they did not see "a coherent policy":
I congratulate Commissioner Clyburn for her distinguished stay at the FCC. She has been a tremendous leader and a committed public servant throughout her time here. As the first woman to lead the agency, she skilfully led through a transition and put her stamp [own] on the Commission, including through her strong leadership in telehealth, media diversity and digital inclusion. I have enjoyed working with her and, even when we have not agreed with the policy, I have always taken her frankness and consideration into account. She has been a wonderful colleague and friend. I wish you the best and I sincerely thank you for your service.