Senate confirms Baker, Clyburn for FCC posts

The Senate confirmed Meredith Attwell Baker and Mignon Clyburn for the last two FCC seats on the five-member commission, putting the FCC at full strength for the first time in months.

The vote came by unanimous consent. The two had appeared before the Senate Commerce Committee last week for confirmation hearings and promised to protect consumers and foster a regulatory environment that encourages private investment. The Commerce Committee approved the nominations Tuesday.

Clyburn, the oldest daughter of House Majority Whip Rep. James Clyburn (D-S.C.), was a commissioner for the South Carolina Public Service Commission. Baker was formerly the head of the National Telecommunications and Information Administration at the Commerce Department during the Bush administration. They will join Julius Genachowski, the commission's new chairman, as well as commissioners Michael Copps and Robert McDowell.

The commision, once fully constituted, will have a full plate of issues to deal with, most notably crafting a national broadband plan. However, other hot topics the commission likely will look into in the months ahead include handset exclusivity deals and Universal Service Fund reform.

The nominees' confirmation drew praise from the industry and from Genachowski. 

"The experience and knowledge of the communications industry that they will each bring to the commission will be very valuable as the FCC begins its efforts to develop a national broadband plan," CTIA President Steve Largent said in a statement. "We look forward to working with commissioners Baker and Clyburn, and their colleagues at the commission, to ensure consumers across the country have access to wireless broadband services."

Genachowski said Clyburn's "commitment to public service, experience in state government and entrepreneurial expertise will be invaluable assets to this agency." And he said Baker was a "distinguished public servant who will bring unique insight and expertise to bear in the agency's policymaking process."

"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," he said in a statement.

For more:
- see this Multichannel News article

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