University of South Carolina

Alumna Mignon Clyburn heads the Federal Communications Commission

 

In 2009, Mignon Clyburn was appointed by President Barack Obama as commissioner of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and unanimously confirmed by the U.S. Senate. Her term runs through June 2012.

A 1984 business administration graduate, Clyburn has a long history of public service and dedication to the public interest.

She served for 11 years as the representative on the Public Service Commission of South Carolina. She actively participated in numerous national and regional state-based utility organizations, including serving as the chair of the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners' Washington Action Committee.

Earlier in her career, she was publisher and general manager of The Coastal Times, a Charleston-based weekly newspaper.

"Many things that ail us as a nation can be addressed through the National Broadband Plan."

As FCC commissioner, Clyburn deals with the complexities of telecommunications and high-tech policy. The regulatory agency was charged with drafting the National Broadband Plan (NBP)--designed to provide affordable high-speed Internet access to every part of the nation--and presented it to Congress March 17.

"The NBP is part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, often referred to as the Recovery Act, which was signed into law by President Obama in February 2009," she explained. "The Act includes measures to modernize our nation's infrastructure, enhance energy independence, expand educational opportunities, and protect those in greatest need.

"Many things that ail us as a nation can be addressed through the NBP," Clyburn said. "For a relatively small price, in comparison to some billion-dollar government programs, the NBP can tackle a lot of issues in many areas, including education, public safety, and health. It's an efficient delivery system."

Responding to critics who say such a plan would be expensive, Clyburn likens the NBP to the Rural Electric Administration (REA), a program created in 1935 by President Franklin Roosevelt to bring electricity to rural areas.

"At that time in our history, only ten percent of rural dwellers had electricity, while nearly 90 percent of urban dwellers did," said Clyburn, whose father is James Clyburn, a Congressman who represents South Carolina's sixth district.

"Without the REA, where would rural areas of the United States be? Who would have come to rural South Carolina to work or to build a business?" she said. "The NBP will be just as critical to the nation's growth."

By Web Communications

Posted: 03/19/10 @ 12:00 AM | Updated: 03/23/10 @ 4:31 PM | Permalink