NTIA Bulks Up Broadband Oversight


The National Telecommunications & Information Administration has established two new broadband-related offices as it prepares for a big roll in the Biden Administration's multi-billion-dollar effort to close the digital divide.

NTIA, the administration's chief communications policy advisory arm, has created the Office of Internet Connectivity and Growth and the Office of Minority Broadband Initiatives.

NTIA, which is part of Commerce, is arguably getting a larger role in closing the digital divide under President Biden, and due to the directives of new broadband funding bills, than the FCC, which is an independent agency.

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The first will oversee the BroadbandUSA program, the National Broadband Availability Map (NBAM), and the Minority Broadband Initiative (MBI), while the second will oversee a partnership with Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) established under the former President in 2018. The goal being " solving broadband deployment challenges in vulnerable communities."

The Office of Internet Connectivity and Growth was mandated by the ACCESS BROADBAND Act and will be headed by Douglas Kinkoph, who has headed NTIA's broadband program since 2015. It will include the Broadband Infrastructure Program, the Tribal Broadband Connectivity Program and the Connecting Minority Communities Pilot Program.

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“NTIA is proud to establish these two new offices that reflect how broadband expansion and advancing equity in America are critical to our core mission and the Biden Administration’s agenda,” said acting NTIA administrator Evelyn Remaley in a statement. “With this new organizational structure, we are prepared to make significant progress in closing the digital divide through our broadband programs, bringing us closer to President Biden’s goal of connecting all Americans to reliable, affordable high-speed Internet.”

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.