NTIA Announces Series of Public Meetings on Broadband Stimulus; Introduces Rick Wade

Broadband Stimulus, NTIA March 6th, 2009

, Publisher, BroadbandBreakfast.com

WASHINGTON, March 6, 2009 – Rick C. Wade, a senior advisor in the presidential campaign of Barack Obama and currently the acting chief of staff for the Commerce Department, will be one of three featured speakers at the broadband stimulus public meeting next Tuesday.

Wade, who was in South Carolina Gov. Jim Hodges’ cabinet before joining the Obama campaign, has been serving on the president’s 10-person Task Force on the Auto Industry for the past two weeks.

According to a Friday press release by the NTIA, Wade – together with Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and Acting Federal Communications Commission Chairman Michael Copps – “will announce a series of meetings that will give the public an opportunity to ask questions about and provide comment on the program.”

Wade received a B.S. degree from the University of South Carolina and Master of Public Administration from Harvard University, where he was also a Kennedy Fellow, and has studied theology in Atlanta and in Washington.

Wade’s inclusion on the program bumps the spot that had been allocated to Mark Seifert, who was – on a previous program – listed as a “Senior Advisor” to NTIA.

Seifert worked as deputy chief of the FCC’s Common Carrier Bureau – which is now known as the Wireline Competition Bureau – and has been on the staff of the House Energy and Commerce Committee.

On Feb. 17, President Obama signed the fiscal stimulus package, which includes $7.2 billion for broadband funding. Of that total, $4.7 billion will flow through NTIA, and $2.5 billion will flow through the Agriculture Department’s Rural Utilities Service. The FCC has the responsibility to craft a national broadband strategy.

The much-anticipated March 10 meeting is the first public showcase of the administration’s evolving agenda for spending the stimulus funds.

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack is scheduled to speak for the administration by laying out “President Obama’s Broadband Strategy,” followed by Copps and then by Wade.

According to the NTIA press release, the broadband initiatives funded in the fiscal stimulus legislation, “are intended to accelerate broadband deployment in unserved, underserved and rural areas and to strategic institutions that are likely to create jobs or provide significant public benefits.”

The remainder of the time is broken up into a discussion of “statutory requirement and timelines.”

That discussion will be led by Bernadette McGuire-Rivera, associate administrator at NTIA; David Villano, assistant administrator for telecommunications programs, USDA Rural Development; and Scott M. Deutchman, acting senior legal advisor to Acting Chairman Copps, at the FCC.

There will also be opportunity for public comment at the meeting. The NTIA press release emphasizes that the March 10 meeting is merely the first of a series of public meetings on the program.

Another change in the program, albeit cosmetic: Anna Gomez, the Acting Administrator of the NTIA, is listed as the “host” of the event. Gomez, who was also named Deputy Assistant Secretary in the NTIA (and, as the highest-level person in the agenda, is considering “acting” administrator).

Currently, there is no Commerce secretary, nor an assistant secretary and administrator of the NTIA. Last week Obama named Gary Locke, the former governor of Washington, as his cabinet-level designee. Although the White House has yet to name an NTIA head, sources and published reports say that Larry Strickland, Obama policy advisor and former FCC Common Carrier Bureau Chief, tops the list of candidates.

Gomez, a former official with Sprint-Nextel, has focused her recent efforts and comments on the transition to digital television. To date, Bernadette McGuire-Rivera, head of the NTIA’s Office of Telecommunications and Information Applications, and associate administrator of NTIA, has been taking the lead in explaining NTIA’s approach to broadband stimulus funding.

Broadband Census Resources

Broadband Breakfast Club

March Meeting: Broadband Competition: Do We Have It, and How Do We Get More of It?

BroadbandCensus.com presents the March meeting of the Broadband Breakfast Club at Old Ebbitt Grill on Tuesday, March 10, 2009, at 8 a.m. Because of the Commerce Department/Agriculture Department/FCC Public Meeting on broadband stimulus from 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m., the Broadband Breakfast Club will adjourn at 9:30 a.m.

  • NEW! – James Baller, President of Baller Herbst Law Group, will provide a brief summary of the progress of the U.S. Broadband Coalition
  • Art Brodsky, Communication Director, Public Knowledge
  • Kathleen Ham, Vice President, Federal Regulatory, T-Mobile USA
  • Brent Olson, Assistant Vice President, Public Policy, AT&T
  • Emmett O’Keefe, Director, Federal Public Policy, Amazon.com
  • Scott Wallsten, Vice President for Research and Senior Fellow, Technology Policy Institute

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