WASHINGTON, June 6, 2009 – Because today’s broadband networks are inadequate, the government needs to play a role in helping bridge the high-speed internet divide, Jim Kohlenberger, Chief of Staff in the White House’s Office of Science and Technology said Thursday.
Kohlenberger, speaking at the Thursday’s Broadband Stimulus National Town Hall webcast, highlighted the efforts of the Obama administration in increasing broadband access in the United States.
“We all do better when we are connected together, and broadband is now this critical infrastructure challenge for our generation,” Kohlenberger said. “It’s about our future, and we’re lucky to have a president who’s focused on the future and really gets it on broadband.”
Kohlenberger’s speech opened the town hall meeting, which was streamed live online on Thursday, and is available for free upon registration. The webcast was co-hosted by Drew Clark, Executive Director of BroadbandCensus.com, and Marty Stern, a partner at the law firm of K&L Gates.
The event will be followed by a national town hall broadband workshop – also co-produced by BroabandCensus.com and TV Worldwide – on Thursday, July 9. That date is shortly after the June 30 deadline by which NTIA and the Agriculture Department’s Rural Utilities Service are scheduled to release their final rules for broadband grants and loans.
The webcast included panel discussions on scoring grants by the National Telecommunications and Information Administration, on private financing for broadband projects, and on the role of public-private partnerships in broadband applications. Deswood Tome, Executive Director of the Navajo Nation Telecommunications Regulatory Authority, also spoke during the webcast.
In his remarks, Kohlenberger said that the Broadband Technology Opportunities Program (BTOP) at the NTIA represented a critical domestic infrastructure investment. The U.S. has “fallen behind in our ability to harness our potential” in internet development.
Further investment in broadband technology will create opportunities for education, data, and communications development, he said. “Today’s broadband networks are far from ubiquitous.”
“Only 57% of Americans have broadband at home, and even that isn’t homogenous,” Kohlenberger said. ”We’re at thus juncture where we can and must do more to bridge this opportunity gap.”
President Obama’s reliance on technology, Kohlenberger noted, indicated his dedication to increasing broadband accessibility.
Obama “was propelled into office by new and enabling technologies…. Even today, the President is 5,000 miles away and he’s still connected in Egypt,” he said, referring to the President’s recent trip to Cairo.
“If you look at [International Telecommunications Union’s] digital opportunity index, it lists the US as 21st, right behind Estonia and tied with Slovenia. The President has looked at these rankings and called them ‘unacceptable.’ That’s why he’s made broadband access for all a national priority.”
The webcast, which included major figures from the broadband industry, the NTIA, and technological policy think tanks, debated major parts of the BTOP’s execution and definition.
During the first panel, on scoring grants, Scott Wallsten, vice president of research for the Technology Policy Institute, said there were three key problems in grant proposal evaluations: the BTOP’s unclear objective, lack of criteria to base a judgment upon, and the “sheer” volume of grant applications.
Wallsten proposed a competitive procurement auction, in which the government would bid for services and allocate them depending on certain communities’ needs. The fact that companies are writing advocacy plans, he said, “shows the failures in the plan so far. You would hope that these decisions wouldn’t promote advocacy, but the way everything’s been set up shows that everybody who’s going to submit a proposal is going to need help.”
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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