Jessica Rosenworcel Pledges Cooperation with New NTIA Chief

FCC Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel
Newly minted FCC chief Jessica Rosenworcel (Image credit: FCC)

Washington stakeholders were quick to weigh in after a somewhat divided Congress approved Alan Davidson as the new head of the National Telecommunications & Information Administration, including pledges of cooperation from FCC chair Jessica Rosenworcel.

NITA, a part of the Commerce Department, oversees government spectrum holders, is the President's top communications policy arm, and perhaps most importantly in the current broadband subsidy cornucopia out of Congress, will oversee some $48 billion in broadband subsidies, mostly to the states.

“Congratulations to Alan Davidson as he takes the helm of NTIA at an exciting time for broadband policy in the United States," said Rosenworcel, herself a recent confirmee to the top post at that agency. "The FCC and NTIA have worked together as partners in the past, and I look forward to building on that history with close cooperation in the future."

Actually, there has been some difference of opinion between the two agencies, particularly over the issues of potential interference to aviation and automotive systems as the FCC promotes sharing government spectrum, or adjacent spectrum.

"Among other things, I look forward to working together on spectrum policy that reflects our national priorities and offering support as NTIA prepares to distribute the largest broadband infrastructure investment in our nation’s history," Rosenworcel said.

The FCC used to be the 800 pound broadband subsidy gorilla thanks to its Universal Service Fund (USF) ongoing subsidies program, but NTIA's profile has been raised considerably due to infrastructure spending's infusion of tens of billions of dollars in new money.

“We congratulate Alan Davidson on his approval by the Senate to lead the National Telecommunications and Information Administration," said Michael Powell, president of NCTA – The Internet & Television Association. "Alan will play a critical role in overseeing the implementation of the billions of dollars of funding for broadband construction included in the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. With the tens of billions of dollars dedicated to broadband infrastructure, America has an historic opportunity to accomplish universal connectivity but only if the funds are targeted where they are needed most and the program does not stray from its intent of connecting communities without robust broadband service.

"NTIA also plays an important role in advancing a balanced spectrum policy that serves the needs of licensed and unlicensed users as well as leading the development of a national policy on privacy and data," said Powell. "We look forward to working with Alan and the NTIA on these important issues and keeping America at the forefront of communications innovation.”

“With Alan’s extensive experience in the communications industry, we look forward to his leadership at NTIA during this critical time when the agency will oversee the most significant opportunity to close the digital divide and promote digital equity since the inception of the Internet," said Comcast chief legal officer Tom Reid.

“Charter congratulates Alan Davidson on his confirmation as Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Communications and Information and as Administrator of the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA)," said the cable ISP. "Under Mr. Davidson’s leadership, NTIA will undertake significant efforts to help close the digital divide and ensure that all Americans have access to reliable, high-speed internet service, and we look forward to working with him.”

"Mr. Davidson’s background as an executive at the Mozilla Foundation, an Obama Administration alum and former director of the Open Technology Institute means he understands how to pair good engineering with smart policy for the greater public good. We look forward to working with Mr. Davidson on crafting balanced policy that will fuel innovation and connect more Americans," said WiFiForward.

"[Davidson's] leadership on spectrum sharing solutions will help further public-private partnerships and growth for our dynamic member organizations," said National Spectrum Consortium chair Salvador D’Itri. "We look forward to working with Davidson and his colleagues as they advance smart spectrum policy."

"Frontier congratulates Alan Davidson on his Senate confirmation as Administrator of the National Telecommunications and Information Administration," said the company. "Throughout his career, Davidson has been a champion for open, affordable, and accessible broadband for all Americans, a priority we share at Frontier. We look forward to working with Administrator Davidson as he oversees the historic deployment of more than $48 billion for broadband deployment to ensure Americans have access to reliable, gigabit broadband service throughout the country."  

NATE: The Communications Infrastructure Contractors Association, whose members should be getting a ton of work from the broadband subsidy bonanza, added its applause.

"NATE congratulates Mr. Davidson on his confirmation,” said NATE president Todd Schlekeway. “Thanks to the federal infrastructure law, NTIA is charged with distributing historic levels of funding for broadband deployment and it is very important to have a talented leader overseeing efforts to distribute this funding and closing the digital divide. Mr. Davidson is committed to these efforts and has pledged to ensure broadband funds are deployed properly and that broadband deployment is technology neutral. NATE looks forward to being a partner in these efforts and supporting Mr. Davidson in his role as Assistant Secretary.”

“We wish to congratulate Alan Davidson and his family on his Senate confirmation to lead the NTIA," said Chip Pickering, CEO of INCOMPAS, adding: "This is one of the most important public service jobs in broadband history. A bipartisan Congress united to invest a record $65 billion into broadband that has the potential to transform America’s internet future. Done right, competition policy will be the driving force behind these investments, as competition has proven time and again to be the leading driver for faster speeds and lower prices that save consumers money and help small businesses grow." ■

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.