Profiles of the people who make or influence communications policy.
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.
The Benton Institute for Broadband & Society announced the appointment of two new board members, Denise Linn Riedl and Leon Wilson. Mayor Pete Buttigieg named Denise Linn Riedl the Chief Innovation Officer for the City of South Bend (IN) at the end of January 2019. Previously, Linn Riedl was in charge of Ecosystem Development at Chicago’s City Tech Collaborative.
Representative John Lewis (D-GA), a son of sharecroppers and an apostle of nonviolence who was bloodied at Selma and across the Jim Crow South in the historic struggle for racial equality, and who then carried a mantle of moral authority into Congress, died on July 17. He was 80. On the front lines of the bloody campaign to end Jim Crow laws, with blows to his body and a fractured skull to prove it, Lewis was a valiant stalwart of the civil rights movement and the last surviving speaker from the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom in 1963.
Seventy-five years ago, in October 1944, my grandfather, William Benton, delivered a clarion call in the pages of Forbes magazine by articulating a forward-looking agenda on behalf of a coalition of business leaders (“the capitalists who cared enough about the system to save it”) to deliver a more peaceful and prosperous American future in the (then-expected) wake of winning World War II. William Benton recognized that American progress rested on the connection between economic opportunity and democracy.