Benton Foundation Expanding Washington Office

Focus on Making Promise of the National Broadband Plan a Reality
Amina Fazlullah Named Policy Counsel; Joanne Hovis Joins Board of Directors

Washington, DC - June 1, 2010 - Benton Foundation Chairman and CEO Charles Benton today named Amina Fazlullah the organization's Policy Counsel, and is pleased to announce that Joanne Hovis has joined the foundation's board of directors.

Fazlullah will spearhead the foundation's advocacy efforts around implementation of the recently-released National Broadband Plan and additional efforts to promote policies that make universal, affordable high-speed Internet access and use a reality in the U.S.

Hovis, who is president of the public interest technology and energy consulting firm, CTC, is a longtime advocate of universal, high-bandwidth broadband for community and economic development. She has assisted local and state governments, as well as non-profits, throughout the country to develop broadband strategic plans and to design and deploy broadband networks. Hovis also serves as president-elect of the National Association of Telecommunications Officers and Advisors, the association that promotes community interests in communications matters.

"Now that the Federal Communications Commission has presented the National Broadband Plan to Congress and the nation," said Mr. Benton, "the Benton Foundation will focus on tracking and advocating for implementation."

Since January 2007 the Benton Foundation has advocated for federal policymakers to craft a national broadband strategy with set benchmarks, deployment timetables, a commitment to demand drivers, and measurable thresholds. The Foundation also wants to see the transformation of the Universal Service Fund from a safety net that provides telephone service to all, to a trampoline that spurs economic development in communities across the country.

Amina Fazlullah is well-positioned to assist Benton in these endeavors. During her tenure at U.S. Public Interest Research Group (PIRG), Ms. Fazlullah focused on telecommunications and digital privacy issues, advocating on behalf of consumers in both FCC and FTC agency proceedings and by providing testimony for hearings before Congress. She can be reached by e-mail: [email protected].

The Benton Foundation's mission is to articulate a public interest vision for the digital age and to demonstrate the value of communications for solving social problems. Benton is a longtime supporter of research on universal service and the potential of high-speed Internet connections to improve American's lives.

Cecilia Garcia