Is President Obama Putting Net Neutrality At Risk?


There is a disturbing possibility that President Obama has put his excellent open media and network neutrality platform at risk with his latest--and last--Democratic FCC appointment, Mignon Clyburn.

There are five seats in the FCC, and "only three commissioners may be members of the same political party." For the next five years, the FCC will have a 3-2 Democratic majority, once the remaining Republican open seat has been filled. That makes this appointment by President Obama the key swing vote that will largely determine FCC policy and regulation over the next five years.

The reason Mignon Clyburn is such a worrying pick is that she is the daughter of South Carolina Representative James Clyburn, who has an anti-Net Neutrality record:

In 2006, Representative Clyburn voted againstH. Amdt. 987 to ensure that network neutrality clauses be added to the Title VII of the Communication Act of 1934. The amendment required all broadband service provides to "operate its broadband network in a nondiscriminatory manner so that any person can offer or provide content, applications, and services through, or over, such broadband network with equivalent or better capability than the provider extends to itself or affiliated parties, and without the imposition of a charge for such nondiscriminatory network operation."

While Mignon might not have the same views as her father, what we do know about her ranges from unclear to unpromising:

Here's what we do know.  Clyburn serves on the South Carolina public service commission (which is considered very pro-Bell).  She is virtually unknown by knowledgeable telecom people.  And, she seems to have focused more on energy issues than telecom, if early accounts are to be believed.  Plus, Verizon and the cable trade association are very happy.  All in all, not good.

And check out this creepy comment that appeared below the Washington Post story on Clyburn's appointment:

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