Policymakers

Profiles of the people who make or influence communications policy.

State Broadband Directors Have a Lot to Offer Each Other

Fellow broadband offices are one of the most valuable resources new state broadband directors can leverage, experienced directors say. During the Broadband Communities Summit, Connect Maine Authority Executive Director Peggy Schaffer said that communication between state broadband offices is critical so that states do not make the same mistakes twice. “The knowledge that [broadband offices] share is [a great resource],” she said. She added that this is particularly important for newer broadband directors who may not have much experience working in the sector.

Law360's 2022 Telecommunications Editorial Advisory Board

Law360 announced the formation of its 2022 Telecommunications Editorial Advisory Board which will provide feedback on the publication's coverage and expert insight on how best to shape future coverage. Included on the board is Benton Senior Counselor Andrew Jay Schwartzman. 

Rep Marjorie Taylor Greene Introduces 21st Century FREE Speech Act

Rep Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) introduced the 21st Century FREE Speech Act (H.R.7613) on April 28, 2022. Greene is partnering with Sen Bill Hagerty (R-TN) to pass the bill in both the House and Senate. The 21st Century Free Speech Act centers on the following policy objectives:

Sen Wicker's Remarks at Department of Commerce Budget Priorities Hearing

Sen Roger Wicker (R-MS) participated in a hearing to consider the Department of Commerce budget for Fiscal Year 2023, which featured testimony from Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo. "Last year’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law placed the Department of Commerce’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration at the center of our efforts to expand broadband access and close the digital divide," said Wicker.

Former Sen. Heitkamp’s Attacks on Gigi Sohn for FCC are Wildly Off-Base

Gigi Sohn is still up for confirmation by the Senate to complete the Federal Communications Commission. I’ve known Gigi for many years and respected her from the first time I saw her in action. She isn’t a political agent trying to figure out the best path to the top. She has strong beliefs, and she’ll tell you what they are in a wonderful Long Island blur of passion. She respects other beliefs and ideas but she isn’t going to pretend she agrees with you when she doesn’t.

FCC Chairwoman Rosenworcel: ‘We’ve Turned the Volume Down and Ramped Up the Activity’

In her first National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) Show appearance since her designation as Federal Communications Commission Chair, Jessica Rosenworcel conceded that the introduction of a fifth commissioner would solve the agency’s current 2-to-2 political gridlock, but she’s not losing any sleep over it. “We’ve got to figure out how to work together, or we don’t get anything done,” she told NAB president and CEO Curtis LeGeyt.

FCC Commissioner Starks Announces Staff Changes

Federal Communications Commissioner Geoffrey Starks announced several changes to his team. William Davenport, Starks’s Chief of Staff and Senior Legal Advisor, will be leaving the FCC at the end of April 2022. Austin Bonner, Starks’s legal advisor for media and consumer protection issues, will serve as Acting Chief of Staff. Commissioner Starks said, “For over three years, Bill has led my office’s efforts to improve the equity, security, and sustainability of our nation’s communications sector.

Celebrating Over 25 Years of Headlines

As we celebrate the Benton Institute’s 40 years of impact, I'd like to take a moment to recognize one name that is a constant—a name that has become synonymous with Benton.

CWA Urges Senate to Confirm Gigi Sohn to FCC with Six-Figure Ad Buy

The Communications Workers of America (CWA) launched a six-figure digital advertising campaign aimed at securing Gigi Sohn’s [Senior Fellow and Public Advocate at the Benton Institute for Broadband & Society] confirmation to the Federal Communications Commission.

Federal Trade Commission Chair Lina Khan Announces Senior Agency Leaders

Federal Trade Commission Chair Lina Khan announced the appointment of two senior agency leaders: General Counsel Anisha Dasgupta and Office of Policy Planning Director Elizabeth Wilkins. Anisha Dasgupta comes to the FTC from the Office of the New York State Attorney General, where she has served since 2014 as Deputy Solicitor General. Prior to that, Dasgupta was an appellate attorney with the Civil Division of the United States Department of Justice. Before joining the FTC, Elizabeth Wilkins served as Senior Advisor to the White House Chief of Staff.