WASHINGTON, June 25, 2010 – The Federal Communications Commissions announced a new appointment in its office of native outreach this Tuesday, an office responsible for acting as a liaison between the FCC and tribal nations within the United States. The new administrator, Geoffrey Blackwell, will be responsible for leading the Office of Native Nations to implement the National Broadband Plan’s recommendations for extending broadband access to tribal nations.
Blackwell’s appointment comes after substantial work in the development of tribal economic infrastructure. Prior to serving at the Office of Native Nations, Blackwell held a seat on the FCC's Federal Advisory Committee on Diversity for Communications in the Digital Age. In September 2009, he was elected to be the commissioner representing the United States on the Indigenous Commission for Communications Technologies in the Americas. From 1999-2005, Blackwell served at the FCC as senior attorney and liaison to tribal governments. He also helped draft key recommendations for the expansion of broadband while working in other areas of the FCC, including the development of the FCC's 2000 Statement of Policy on Establishing a Government-to-Government Relationship with Indian Tribes, adoption of the enhanced Lifeline and Link-Up support for residents of tribal lands
Among the recommendations Blackwell will be tasked with implementing are the establishment of a new office dedicated to addressing Native needs and overseeing a new FCC-Native Nations Broadband Task Force, as well as developing and implementing what the FCC calls “a robust policy of meaningful dialog and consultation with tribal entities.”