Net-neutrality supporter Mignon Clyburn leaves FCC

19 April 2018 | Alan Burkitt-Gray

Mignon Clyburn, the strong advocate of net neutrality in the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), has left the regulator after nine years.

Mignon Clyburn, FCCHer last FCC meeting was on Tuesday, said chairman Ajit Pai, the Republican appointee who ended net neutrality after a long campaign in February. Net neutrality ends on 23 April, next week

In a statement, Pai said: “She has been a tremendous leader and a committed public servant throughout her time here. As the first woman to head the agency [in an interregnum], she led skillfully through a transition and put her stamp on the Commission, including through her steadfast leadership in telehealth, media diversity, and digital inclusion.”

Clyburn was one of two Democrats on the five-member FCC. She pushed Pai’s predecessor, Tom Wheeler, to enact powerful net neutrality rules – which Pai rescinded.

Clyburn’s Twitter feed still has a pinned Tweet from 22 February 2018: “Today it is official: @FCC majority has taken the next step in handing the keys to the internet over to billion-dollar #broadband providers by publishing the #NetNeutrality repeal order in the Federal Register.” 

A former journalist and editor, she moved into public service via the South Carolina Public Service Commission. Former president Barack Obama appointed her to the FCC in 2009.

The other Democrat – and only other woman – on the FCC, Jessica Rosenworcel, said: “As she departs this agency, she should know her legacy is intact because so many who work on communications policy will continue to be guided by her outstanding example.”

Another Republican, Michael O’Rielly, said: “I am saddened to hear my friend and colleague, Commissioner Clyburn, announce her intention to leave the Commission in the very near future.” Brendan Carr said: “Commissioner Clyburn has been a strong and dynamic member of the Commission.”