Mignon Clyburn to FCC: 2 down, 1 to go

With the nomination of Mignon Clyburn to the Federal Communications Commission, President Obama has moved one step closer to finalizing the makeup of the regulatory agency with broad jurisdiction over the telecom industry.

Clyburn, the daughter of House Majority Whip James Clyburn, has served on South Carolina’s Public Service Commission since 1998. She currently heads the Washington arm of the National Association of Regulatory Commissioners.

The nomination of Clyburn, a Democrat, for commissioner leaves Obama with one Republican spot to fill on the five-person panel.

Obama has already tapped Julius Genachowski to chair the agency, but his nomination has yet to be considered by the Senate.

Two Republican commissioners, including Chairman Kevin Martin, recently stepped down, and Jonathan Adelstein, a Democrat, has been appointed to head the Rural Utilities Service, a division of the Department of Agriculture that is responsible for administering about a third of the money in the economic stimulus package allocated for broadband networks.

The FCC, currently under the interim chairmanship of Michael Copps, has been in limbo as it waits the Senate confirm of the permanent chairman. That confirmation hearing could be delayed until Obama produces a Republican nominee to round out the agency.

The agenda for the FCC’s next meeting, scheduled for May 13, is relatively light. The most immediate task for the agency is the nationwide transition to digital television, scheduled for June 12. Down the road, the FCC is tasked with advising RUS and the National Teleommunications Information Administration in the dispersal of broadband stimulus money, and developing and reporting to Congress a national broadband strategy.

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