Ina Fried

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Acting FCC Chair: Regulate With a Light Touch, but Touch When Necessary

The acting head of the Federal Communications Commission said on Tuesday that she wants to work to protect rural carriers and consumers while making sure that efforts to increase available spectrum remain on track.

Mignon Clyburn said healthy competition is key to continued innovation.

“We have taken a light regulatory approach, but have touched when necessary,” Mignon said, speaking at the opening of the CTIA 2013 show in Las Vegas.

The most notable of those touches, of course, was the agency’s opposition to AT&T’s purchase of T-Mobile USA. The agency has since approved other combinations, including Verizon’s partnership with the cable companies, and T-Mobile USA’s acquisition of MetroPCS.

Clyburn had some specific words of praise for smaller, regional carriers that she said provide excellent customer service and help connect rural America.

Speaking in her first week as acting chair, Clyburn said that an incentive spectrum auction remains on track, with rules to be issued this year and the bidding itself to take place next year.

“The agency is doing a lot of creative things to make more spectrum available,” said Clyburn, who will hold the post until confirmation of her successor, Tom Wheeler.

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I’m a giant vat of creative juices.

— David Pogue on why he’s joining Yahoo