Remarks of FCC Acting Chairwoman Mignon L. Clyburn at CTIA 2013
PREPARED REMARKS OF FCC ACTING CHAIRWOMAN MIGNON L. CLYBURN
CTIA 2013 LAS VEGAS, NEVADA
MAY 21, 2013Good morning.
Before we begin, I wanted to take a brief moment to offer my deepest condolences to those who lost
loved ones as a result of the devastating tornadoes in Oklahoma. We hope the worst has passed. In the
meantime, the FCC will continue to monitor, evaluate and respond as needed to help ensure our nation's
communications infrastructure works when people need it most. These are the times when Americans
must be able to communicate with family, friends and emergency personnel.
Thank you for being here.
They say the first rule of being an Acting Chair, is not to take unnecessary gambles or risks. So on my
first full day, what do I do? Hop on a plane for Las Vegas.
Let me begin by thanking Steve Largent for two things. First, for inviting me to join you today and
second, for not scheduling this session opposite J.Lo.
I wish to congratulate U.S. Cellular’s Mary Dillon, on her election as Chairwoman for 2013, and thank
CTIA, for working with the FCC on a number of issues critical to consumers and our economy. You
voluntarily stepped up to reduce the problem of bill shock and today approximately 97 percent of U.S.
wireless customers receive an alert when they are approaching monthly limits for voice, text, data and
international roaming services. This is a big win for most consumers.
You are also helping with the growing problem of mobile phone theft, launching an educational campaign
to inform consumers about passwords and PINs and how to erase data from smartphones. You’ve
implemented a database to prevent stolen phones from being reactivated, a key to drying up the
underground market for stolen phones. And you are working with the nation’s four largest wireless
carriers to deploy text-to-911 services. This voluntary commitment to nationwide availability of text-to-
911 by May 15, 2014 in locations where the 9-1-1 call center is prepared to receive the texts is a potential
life saver. And I appreciate CTIA’s support of the FCC’s efforts to unleash more spectrum for
broadband, and in particular your work to get voluntary incentive auctions authorized by Congress.
My goal during this transitional period is simple: to keep the agency moving in the right direction.
This requires three key things: openness and transparency, ensuring that the public understands and
engages with the agency; expediency, processing and making decisions in as timely a manner as possible;
and a continued focus on the consumer. And when I say consumers, I mean retaining the focus on both
individuals and industry, for CTIA’s members are providing services and devices to consumers all day,
Looking ahead, I can assure you that maximizing the benefits of mobile communications will continue to
be a top priority for the FCC.
The growth of the wireless industry and the opportunities being unleashed by the mobile revolution is
nothing short of remarkable.
The percentage of American adults who rely solely on commercial mobile providers for voice service has
now reached 34 percent and for those whose incomes are below the poverty line, that figure is an amazing
I often chuckle when we use the term telephone because today’s devices are about so much more than
When I arrived at the Commission just under four years ago, the apps ecosystem was in its infancy, but
just last week Apple passed the 50 billion mark for downloaded applications.
And when we speak about these software designs, we are not just talking about those apps, but actual jobs
– with more than 500,000 created in this space in the U.S. so far. And the share of mobile Internet
connections meeting our broadband definition doubled in just a year.
Mobile innovation is key to U.S. competitiveness. We currently lead the world in LTE deployment, with
about as many LTE subscribers as the rest of the world combined. But maintaining this lead will only
happen if we address one of the biggest challenges to our mobile future -- the demand for spectrum.
The National Broadband Plan helped put the issue of spectrum squarely on the map, and the agency is
doing a lot of creative things to make more spectrum available. Over the past four years, we have
initiated and implemented significant spectrum policy innovations under Chairman Genachowski’s
leadership and are moving full speed ahead during this transition period.
The Incentive Auctions team is continuing to work on, and evaluate, all of the input and proposals
received during our workshops and webinars, and the Commission remains on track to issue auction rules
this year and conduct an auction in 2014.
While the voluntary incentive auction proceeding receives much of the attention these days, it is hardly
the only wireless engagement in our portfolio. Consistent with Congress’s directives in the Spectrum
Act, we are moving forward with plans to auction 10 megahertz of spectrum in the H Block, and 55
megahertz in other bands, as required by the Act.
We not only plan to clear and reallocate spectrum. The FCC is continuing to promote new strategies to
use spectrum more efficiently. We are promoting innovative ways to share spectrum, such as facilitating
small cell technology in the 3.5 GHz band.
Our federal partners at the Commerce Department currently plan to meet in June to complete their
recommendations on sharing in the 1755 – 1850 MHz band and we will continue to work with them to
ensure the most efficient use of spectrum all the way around.
The FCC’s wireless agenda remains focused not only on licensed, but unlicensed spectrum. Building on
our TV White Spaces order, we launched a proceeding in December to spur greater use of unlicensed
spectrum in the 5 GHz band and I will continue to encourage staff to find innovative ways, to promote
unlicensed spectrum use.
Earlier this month, we initiated a proceeding to establish air-ground mobile broadband service as a
secondary allocation in the 14 GHz KU band. This could dramatically enhance the quality of in-flight Wi-
Fi on planes.
I will encourage staff to work with primary licensees in the KU band and companies who are interested in
providing this higher speed Internet service so that the flying public has an opportunity to access high
quality broadband service on commercial aircraft.
Universal Service Reform and implementation will continue to be a high priority, as it has been, since I
became a Commissioner. This includes implementation of Connect America Fund Phase II, which
remains on track, as well as ensuring that we move forward expeditiously with additional support for
mobile services through Mobility Fund II and the Tribal Mobility Fund I auction.
In addition to these initiatives, the Commission remains committed to promoting competition in every
sector of the wireless market structure. Competition is an essential driver of investment and innovation
and must be preserved as it is the best way to protect the growing percentage of Americans who rely
solely on mobile services for their communication needs.
We have taken a light regulatory touch, but have “touched” when necessary to ensure clear rules of the
road and fair play. I am proud of the job we’ve done at the Commission over the last four years, but our
work is far from done. There are many smaller carriers who serve rural America or who compete
regionally that add great customer service, struggling for a foothold. These carriers serve rural America,
compete regionally and add great customer service. So we will continue to work hard to ensure that all
Americans are served and are served by a competitive and fair environment.
Thank you again for working with the Commission on key initiatives in the past and my door will remain
open as we build on the past four years to maximize the potential of mobile communications to improve
the lives of the American people.
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