WASHINGTON, May 19, 2009 – With little questioning or controversy, the Senate Commerce Committee appeared poised ready after a Tuesday hearing to submit to the full Senate for confirmation the nominations of two key technology officials in the Obama administration.
Lawrence Strickling has been nominated to be Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Telecommunications and Information, and head of the National Telecommunications and Information Administration.
Aneesh Chopra has been nominated to be the nation’s first Chief Technology Officer.
As head of the Commerce Department agency responsible for the bulk of the $7.2 billion broadband stimulus, Strickling would be poised to play a key role in the administration’s de facto broadband policy.
Of the total, $4.7 billion will run through Commerce, and $2.5 billion through the Agriculture Department. The program is designed to expand broadband access to unserved and underserved American communities.
NTIA is also responsible for the nation’s final transition to digital television.
“President Obama was elected to bring change to our nation,” said Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va. “Advancing these shared goals of progress and prosperity will require your best efforts,” he told the nominees.
Warner saved a great deal of praise for Chopra, who currently serves as Virginia Secretary of Technology, a position in which Warner said Chopra has “performed admirably.”
Warner and Chopra recently served as co-chairs of Virginia’s Broadband Roundtable, which Warner called “an effort to expand rural broadband access so that no region would be left behind in a global economy.”
If confirmed, Strickling would bring a quarter-century of experience in both the public and private sectors to the NTIA. He began his career in the telecommunications industry as a legal adviser to Ameritech, one of the nascent “Baby Bell” companies created after the 1983 breakup of AT&T’s local phone service monopoly. He later served at the FCC as Chief of the Common Carrier Bureau (now the Wireline Competition Bureau) during the Clinton administration, from 1998-20000, under Chairman Reed Hundt and later William Kennard.
Chopra and Strickling both stressed the importance of expanding Americans’ access to broadband service during their prepared remarks. “Technology and innovation are hallmarks of the American story,” Chopra said. Encouraging adoption of technology can make America “more competitive, communications more affordable, broadband more abundant…and Americans more safe and secure,” he said.
“We must do everything we can to ensure that all Americans have access to modern communications services,” Strickling said. “The internet plays such an important role in the day-to-day lives of so many of us that those…who are not connected risk being left behind,” he said.
Also appearing before the committee were the President’s nominees for the head of the Federal Aviation Administration, Deputy Secretary of Transportation, and Undersecretary of Commerce for Economic Affairs.
With little to no opposition expressed by those Senators present, it is expected the Committee will vote to advance the slate of nominations to the full Senate during a markup tentatively scheduled for 3 p.m. Wednesday.
State Broadband Offices Need to Increase Their Capacity, Improve Data, and Communicate Well
NTIA’s Evan Feinman spoke about what states need to keep in mind as they prepare for BEAD funds.
WASHINGTON, May 18, 2022 – The National Telecommunications and Information Administration webinar event on Tuesday focused on the Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment Notice of Funding Opportunity. The webinar highlighted three important items to keep in mind as states begin to receive money for broadband planning.
The first, according to Evan Feinman, deputy associate administrator for BEAD, was for states to consider your office’s capacity. Each state will receive a minimum of $100 million. Very few states have the human resources required to adequately run a program of this magnitude, he said.
The second is to build up research and data collections of broadband coverage at a state level. The Federal Communications Commission will soon release a new mapping system. It will be necessary, said Feinman, to “engage meaningfully” with these maps using state’s own research and data. Furthermore, states should have the necessary data to engage with internet service providers and the NTIA as they determine who is served and unserved.
Third, states should develop a clear-cut plan for outreach and communication support with stakeholders. Stakeholders include telecom providers, tribal governments, local governments, and community organizations.
The planning step is a great point for stakeholders to become involved in the process, said Feinman. “There is an expectation that lives throughout this program that folks are going to engage really thoroughly and in an outgoing way with their stakeholders.”
See other articles on the NTIA webinars issues in the wake of the Notices of Funding Opportunity on the Broadband.Money community:
Treasury Department Joins FCC, USDA and NTIA in Collaborating on Broadband Funding
Agency leaders sign pact to formalize information-sharing on broadband deployment projects.
WASHINGTON, May 13, 2022—Just in advance of the deadline for the release of the funding requirements under the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs act, the four principal federal agencies responsible for broadband funding released an interagency agreement to share information about and collaborate regarding the collection and reporting of certain data and metrics relating to broadband deployment.
The agencies are the Federal Communications Commission, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the National Telecommunications and Information Administration of the Commerce Department, and the U.S. Department of the Treasury.
The Memorandum of Understanding is the latest development in federal efforts to coordinate high-speed internet spending, and the Treasury Department is the new addition to agreement.
The other three agencies signed a prior memorandum in June 2021 to coordinate the distribution of federal high-speed internet funds. That June 2021 Memorandum of Understanding remains in effect.
The respective Cabinet and Agency leaders announced that their agencies will consult with one another and share information on data collected from programs administered by the FCC, the USDA’s Rural Utilities Service, programs administered or coordinated by NTIA, and Treasury’s Coronavirus Capital Projects Fund and State and Local Fiscal Recovery Fund.
“No matter who you are or where you live in this country, you need access to high-speed internet to have a fair shot at 21st century success. The FCC, NTIA, USDA and Treasury are working together like never before to meet this shared goal,” said FCC Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel. “Our new interagency agreement will allow us to collaborate more efficiently and deepen our current data sharing relationships[and] get everyone, everywhere connected to the high-speed internet they need.”
Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said, “When we invest in rural infrastructure, we invest in the livelihoods and health of people in rural America. High-speed internet is the new electricity. It is necessary for Americans to do their jobs, to participate equally in school learning, to have access to health care and to stay connected.”
“USDA remains committed to being a strong partner with rural communities and our state, Tribal and federal partners in building ‘future-proof’ broadband infrastructure in unserved and underserved areas so that we finally reach 100 percent high-speed broadband coverage across the country.”
“Our whole-of-government effort to expand broadband adoption must be coordinated and efficient if we are going to achieve our mission,” said Alan Davidson, Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Communications and Information and head of the NTIA, the agency responsible for administering the vast bulk of the broadband funding.
“This MOU will allow us to build the tools we need for even better data-sharing and transparency in the future,” he said.
“Treasury is proud to work with our federal agency partners to achieve President Biden’s goal of closing the nation’s digital divide,” said U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet L. Yellen. “Access to affordable, high-speed internet is critical to the continued strength of our economy and a necessity for every American household, school, and business.”
As part of the signed agreement, each federal agency partner will share information about projects that have received or will receive funding from the previously mentioned federal funding sources. More information on what the interagency Memorandum of Understanding entails can be found on the FCC’s website. The agreement is effective at the date of its signing, May 11, 2022.
FCC and NTIA Chiefs Name Jessica Quinley, Douglas Brake and Timothy May to Advisory Committees
NTIA representatives to join FCC technology and security committees, FCC rep on spectrum committee
WASHINGTON, March 18, 2022—Federal Communications Commission Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel and Assistant Secretary of Commerce Alan Davidson on Friday named staff representatives to participate on each other’s advisory committees. The effort is a component of the Spectrum Coordination Initiative of the FCC and the National Telecommunications and Information Administration of the Commerce Department.
As part of the initiative, the agencies are working with each other and the private sector.
“To succeed as spectrum partners, the FCC and NTIA must hear from and listen to each other in both formal and informal ways,” said Rosenworcel.
“A common understanding of spectrum engineering and market conditions is essential for the success of our efforts at the FCC and NTIA to manage the country’s spectrum resources,” said Davidson.
Rosenworcel named Jessica Quinley of the FCC’s Wireless Telecommunications Bureau to participate as an observer in NTIA’s Commerce Spectrum Management Advisory Committee. Quinley currently serves as an Acting Legal Advisor in the FCC’s Wireless Telecommunications Bureau. She was an attorney at NTIA for more than four years.
Davidson named Douglas Brake, a Spectrum Policy Specialist, and Timothy May, a Senior Advisor, to participate in the FCC’s Technological Advisory Council and its Communications Security, Reliability, and Interoperability Council, respectively.
Brake, a Spectrum Policy Specialist with NTIA, previously directed the broadband and spectrum policy work at the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation. May currently serves as a Senior Advisor in the Office of the Assistant Secretary where he has worked for four years. Before joining NTIA, he was a Policy Analyst in the FCC’s Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau.
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