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Policy

The Chairwoman Recognizes

Clyburn Presides Over Historic—And Busy—First Meeting 6/27/2013 1:52 PM Eastern

The FCC's open meeting Thursday was all about firsts. It was the first meeting presided over by acting chairwoman Mignon Clyburn, who is the first woman to head the FCC. It was also the first meeting with a commission made up entirely of minority or women commissioners.

Clyburn's father, Rep. James Clyburn (D-S.C.), was in attendance to mark her first meeting in the big chair.

Commissioner Ajit Pai pointed out that it was the FCC's 79th anniversary, and to mark it there was the first chairwoman and the most diverse commission in history.

Rosenworcel also noted that the women outnumbered the men, likely a first as well.

There have been some questions about whether Clyburn would simply warm the seat until nominee Tom Wheeler was confirmed. But that could take months, and Clyburn signaled hers was no mere placeholder position with a five-item agenda, including a status report on job one--broadcast incentive auctions--and a vote to open up more spectrum for mobile broadband in the H band. The legislation authorizing the incentive auctions also requires the FCC to license that 10 MHz of spectrum for flexible use by 2015.

“Sprint would like to thank the FCC for working quickly to unanimously adopt licensing, technical and service rules for the eventual auction of the H Block spectrum band later this year," the company said in a statement. "Sprint appreciates the Commission adopting balanced rules to protect neighboring licensees from interference while assuring H Block licensees the flexibility necessary to provide wireless broadband services.”

The votes Thursday were unanimous, with one concurrence from Commissioner Pai. Word from staffers in multiple offices were that Clyburn was working collegially with the other commissioners, and taking seriously the suggestions of Republican Ajit Pai, perhaps even more so than her predecessor.

September