Profiles of the people who make or influence communications policy.
Rosenworcel & Davidson: With Leadership in Place, NTIA and FCC Must Now Work Together to Close the Digital Divide
On January 11, the U.S. Senate voted 60-31 to confirm the nomination of Alan Davidson to be the Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Communications and Information. Once sworn in, Davidson will lead the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), which is President Joe Biden's principal adviser on telecommunications and information policy.
President Biden has renominated Gigi Sohn [Senior Fellow and Public Advocate at the Benton Institute for Broadband & Society] to be a commissioner on the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). With Alan Davidson confirmed to lead the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), it is critical that we have a fully functioning FCC to implement much of the work Congress has directed the two agencies to do.
President Joe Biden announced his intent to nominate the following individuals to serve in key roles:
The National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) established the Office of Internet Connectivity and Growth (OICG) and the Office of Minority Broadband Initiatives (OMBI). The changes to NTIA’s organizational structure were adopted on August 13, 2021, in a new Department Organization Order (DOO), which replaced a previous DOO dated September 2012.
This is a historic time for broadband investment. The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed the high costs of being offline. In response, Congress, over the past year, passed two laws—the Consolidated Appropriations Act and the American Rescue Plan—with an unprecedented amount of funding devoted to promoting digital equity. Communities should be engaged now to help craft long-term connectivity goals and ensure that diverse voices are part of the discussion—and that’s our job.
Benton Institute for Broadband & Society Executive Director Adrianne B. Furniss named John Horrigan the new Benton Senior Fellow. Horrigan has been a regular contributor to Benton’s Digital beat blog in recent years. He is a national expert on technology adoption, digital inclusion, and evaluating the outcomes and impacts of programs designed to promote communications technology adoption and use. He served at the Federal Communications Commission as a member of the leadership team for the development of the National Broadband Plan.
A key goal for President Joe Biden is to expand broadband access to everyone in America. Since at least November, he's been laying the groundwork with Congressional Democrats to increase federal broadband spending to improve both access and affordability so people stay online during the pandemic in the short term — and to help rebuild the nation's economy going forward. Key panels in each chamber of Congress will likely play an important role in shaping any legislative efforts.
On January 20, John G. Roberts, Jr., the Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court, swore in President Joseph R. Biden, Jr. In the (few) hours since, President Biden has been very busy. On Thursday, we learned who will be heading the key agencies with jurisdiction over broadband as President Biden named the acting leaders of the Federal Communications Commission, the National Telecommunications and Information Administration, and the Federal Trade Commission. Here's a look at all three.
I am honored to be designated as the Acting Chairwoman of the Federal Communications Commission by President Biden. I thank the President for the opportunity to lead an agency with such a vital mission and talented staff. It is a privilege to serve the American people and work on their behalf to expand the reach of communications opportunity in the digital age.
The Benton Institute for Broadband & Society welcomed David Dodson to its Board of Directors. Dodson is the former president and a current Senior Fellow at MDC, a North Carolina-based nonprofit “think tank with muddy boots,” focused on helping the South become a place where all people can thrive. "For nearly forty years David has worked to advance economic opportunity and social mobility for people and communities struggling to realize the American Dream," said Benton Executive Director Adrianne B.