Larry Irving, President Clinton’s choice to head the Commerce Dept. agency that advises the White House on telecommunications, sailed through a Senate Commerce Committee confirmation hearing Monday.

Irving is in line to head the National Telecommunications & Information Administration.

The former top aide to House telecommunications subcommittee chairman Ed Markey (D-Mass.) and architect of last year’s cable reregulation law declared he is “not a reflex regulator,” but said regulation is necessary if the marketplace isn’t working.

He cited the importance, as the U.S. builds its information superhighway, of ensuring that rural areas and poor families have access to the system.

He also said it may be time to revisit the 1934 Communications Act, the landmark legislation that serves as the benchmark for all broadcast industry regulation.

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