Policymakers

Profiles of the people who make or influence communications policy.

FCC Commissioner Starks Announces Staff Changes

Federal Communications Commissioner Geoffrey Starks announced several changes to his team. Austin Bonner, Acting Chief of Staff and Legal Advisor for media and consumer protection issues, has departed Starks’s office. She heads to the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy on detail. Justin Faulb, Starks’s Wireline and National Security Advisor, will serve as Chief of Staff. Joining the office as Legal Advisor for media and consumer protection issues is Hannah Lepow.

Arkansas Names Glen Howie as New State Broadband Director

Arkansas Secretary of Commerce Mike Preston announced that Glen Howie has been named the state’s new Director of Broadband. Howie comes to the Commerce Department from Louisiana’s Office of Broadband Development and Connectivity. As broadband director, Howie will advise the governor and the secretary of commerce on key issues related to the deployment of broadband throughout Arkansas. He will lead the agency’s efforts for broadband and oversee a three-year plan to provide broadband access to 110,000 underserved households throughout all areas of the state.

FCC Chair Rosenworcel Highlights Recent Efforts to Increase Competition

Federal Communications Commission Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel reaffirmed the FCC’s commitment to increasing competition within the communications sector following the one-year anniversary of President Biden’s Executive Order on Promoting Competition in the American Economy. “Our economy thrives on competition," said Rosenworcel. "Over history, it has inspired innovation, increased choice, and improved our resourcefulness and efficiency. That’s why over the last 18 months, the FCC has helped reinvigorate competition in the communications sector.

FCC Chairwoman Rosenworcel Announces Staff Changes

Federal Communications Commission Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel announced an addition to her staff and adjustments to policy portfolios for select legal advisors. Effective July 11, Carmen Scurato will serve as the Chairwoman’s Legal Advisor for Consumer and Public Safety issues. David Strickland will now serve as Legal Advisor, Media. Ethan Lucarelli will serve as Legal Advisor for Wireless and International issues. Ramesh Nagarajan will serve as Legal Advisor for Wireline and Enforcement related issues.

How Senator Leahy’s broken hip puts net neutrality at risk

One of the strange features of American government is that an 82-year-old’s broken hip can cause a sea change in telecom policy. The 82-year-old in question is Sen Patrick Leahy (D-VT), who had surgery after a fall and is said to be resting comfortably. But while Leahy recuperates, he won’t be able to cast votes and Democrats won’t be able to flex their razor-thin Senate majority — which could cost the administration its last chance to institute net neutrality rules. The temporary stalemate caused by Leahy’s recovery has lots of downstream effects.

FCC Consumer Advisory Committee Seeks Applications for Membership

The Federal Communications Commission announces the anticipated rechartering of the Consumer Advisory Committee and solicits nominations for membership on the Committee, subject to renewal of the Committee’s charter on or before October 16, 2022. Nominations for membership are due on August 1, 2022. The Committee’s mission is to make recommendations to the FCC regarding topics of particular interest to consumers, to be specified by the Commission, and to facilitate consumers’ participation in proceedings before the Commission.

President Biden's net neutrality strategy looks doomed

There is mounting evidence that Gigi Sohn [Senior Fellow and Public Advocate at the Benton Institute for Broadband & Society], President Biden's nomination to the Federal Communications Commission, may never get Senate approval. That could spell the end of his efforts to reinstate the agency's net neutrality guidelines trashed by former President Trump. Without Sohn, Biden's FCC will remain deadlocked with two Republicans and two Democrats, and therefore won't have the votes to move forward with net neutrality.

Telecom players divided on Gigi Sohn's FCC prospects as August recess looms

Time is not on the side of Gigi Sohn, the White House's embattled pick for the open seat on the Federal Communications Commission. Tapped in October of 2021 to help carry out the Biden administration's broadband policy agenda, Sohn [Senior Fellow and Public Advocate at the Benton Institute for Broadband & Society] has faced two Senate hearings that examined her social media activity and her recusals from key FCC business items.

Lt Governor Toland Announces new Director of the Kansas Office of Broadband Development

Kansas Lieutenant Governor and Commerce Secretary David Toland announced that Jade Piros de Carvalho will serve as the new Director of the Office of Broadband Development. Jade Piros de Carvalho is a seasoned broadband executive with experience in government affairs, community relations, business development and marketing for the Kansas-based rural broadband provider, IdeaTek. Along with managing advocacy efforts for broadband expansion policy, Piros de Carvalho also spearheaded digital equity efforts for the company.

Sen Cantwell casts doubt on prospect of major data privacy bill

Senate Commerce Chair Maria Cantwell (D-WA), whose panel controls the fate of any data privacy bill, stated she’s not close to supporting a major proposal recently unveiled by Democratic and Republican leaders in the House and Senate. In addition, she said Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-NY) has said he will not bring the current bill up for a vote in the upper chamber, signaling roadblocks for the push.