Washington -- After the Cable Show crowd got a wake-up call Tuesday
from the fifes, drums and bugles of the U.S. Army Old Guard Army Fife and Drum
Corps, acting chairwoman Mignon Clyburn took the stage for her first, and
likely only, Cable Show in the big chair, and she came armed with praise for
the industry, as well as a call to action.
"What a phenomenal conference.... You have done an incredible
job of connecting this nation," she told the audience in a brief Q&A with
NCTA president Michael Powell. She pointed out that most of America has access
to broadband, but that the country can't be satisfied with reaching the
majority. Almost a million Americans haven't adopted broadband, she said, adding
that cost and literacy were factors. "There are a whole host of people who
don't see what's in it for them," she said.
Clyburn said it was "phenomenal" that the cable industry was
a big driver of the move of content to the anytime anywhere model.
While Clyburn has been identifying herself as acting
chairwoman, Powell said that technically, there was no such thing. "There is
nothing acting about you in my mind," he said.
Convention cochair Abbe Raven introduced Clyburn with the
observation that after nearly 80 years, "we can say there is a woman running
the FCC." Powell echoed the historic note, saying she had been an "exemplar" to
men as well as women because of her achievement. He asked her what that
achievement meant to her. Clyburn said she thought about her grandmother, who
was not allowed a full education "due to the laws of the land" at the time, but
always encouraged her.
Powell pointed to the president's announcement of a
goal of connecting 99% of students to high-speed broadband within five years
and asked whether she thought Wi-Fi should be part of that equation. She said
"absolutely," and that the solution needed to include both licensed and
unlicensed services. She said it was not going to be possible to hardwire the
entire country and that the goal should be connecting in the most efficient way
Asked what her agenda would be, Clyburn cited
statutory requirements like measuring video competition and continued work on
incentive auctions, which she said was sucking up a lot of oxygen at the
agency, but in a good way since it would be a win-win for industry and