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FCC is hurting consumers to help corporations, Mignon Clyburn says on exit

Enlarge / FCC Commissioner Mignon Clyburn speaks at a Kaiser Family Foundation panel discussion on November 4, 2015 in Washington, DC. (credit: Getty Images | Larry French)

As Mignon Clyburn left the Federal Communications Commission, the longtime telecom regulator worried that the FCC is abandoning its “prime directive” of protecting consumers.

“I’m an old Trekkie,” Clyburn told Ars in a phone interview, while comparing the FCC’s responsibility to the Star Trek fictional universe’s Prime Directive. “I go back to my core, my prime directive of putting consumers first.” If the FCC doesn’t do all it can to bring affordable communications services to everyone in the US, “our mission will not be realized,” she said.

The FCC’s top priority, as set out by the Communications Act, is to make sure all Americans have “affordable, efficient, and effective” access to communications services, Clyburn said. But too often, the FCC’s Republican majority led by Chairman Ajit Pai is prioritizing the desires of corporations over consumers, Clyburn said. “I don’t believe it’s accidental that we are called regulators,” she said. “Some people at the federal level try to shy away from that title. I embrace it.”

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