Press Release

President Biden Reportedly Will Announce Historic Broadband Policy Nominations

October 26, 2021
newspaper

Today, President Joe Biden will nominate Jessica Rosenworcel for Chair and Gigi Sohn for Commissioner to the Federal Communications Commission, according to reports. It is also reported that Alan Davidson will be nominated for the position of Assistant Secretary of Commerce and Administrator of the National Telecommunications and Information Administration.

Jessica Rosenworcel has served as a Commissioner for the FCC since 2012. She is a long-time champion for connectivity for all, taking a lead role on spectrum policy reforms and expanding broadband access to households, schools, libraries, and hospitals.

Gigi Sohn is a Distinguished Fellow at the Georgetown Law Institute for Technology Law & Policy and a Senior Fellow and Public Advocate at the Benton Institute for Broadband & Society. She was previously Counselor to the former FCC Chair Tom Wheeler. She founded Public Knowledge in 2001. For three decades, she has been a renowned leader on competition and consumer protection.

Alan Davidson is the Vice President of Global Policy, Trust, and Security at the Mozilla Foundation. He is a passionate advocate for several internet policy issues including free expression, content regulation, encryption, and copyright.

Public Knowledge commends Jessica Rosenworcel, Gigi Sohn, and Alan Davidson for their years of advocacy and urges the Senate to swiftly approve the nominations.

The following can be attributed to Chris Lewis, President and CEO of Public Knowledge:

“Public Knowledge strongly supports and celebrates the reported nominations to the FCC and NTIA. Jessica Rosenworcel, Gigi Sohn, and Alan Davidson all have years of experience in fighting for the public interest in broadband policy, whether it is in government or the nonprofit sector. If reports are confirmed by the White House, these nominations will be historic and a clear indication that the Administration is ready to move forward with bold, but experienced leadership in the key agencies dealing with broadband policy. While later than normal, these nominees are the type of skilled leadership that our country needs at this time. It is vitally important that the Senate act quickly to review and confirm them so they can get to work on behalf of our many broadband and communications policy needs.

“Jessica Rosenworcel’s nomination is a historic selection. If confirmed she would be the first woman to lead the FCC in a non-acting role, following in the footsteps of her former colleague, Acting Chair Mignon Clyburn. More importantly, Rosenworcel has the experience of a career dedicated to quality policymaking at the FCC, from her service as an FCC advisor, a Senate Commerce Committee staffer, and as a Commissioner. She has been in the position of making tough, but important decisions in the public interest. For example, Rosenworcel was a part of the majority FCC vote to reclassify broadband as a telecommunications service under the FCC’s jurisdiction in 2015, creating strong net neutrality rules. Conversely she opposed the removal of that authority in 2017, which has left the FCC limited in its response to the country’s broadband needs during the pandemic. Her outspoken support for using the FCC to close the digital divide has made the term ‘homework gap’ a household phrase. And even while Acting Chair, she has led the charge on quickly implementing the Emergency Broadband Benefit and standing up for those who don’t have reliable or resilient broadband connections.

“Gigi Sohn’s nomination is also historic. Sohn would be the first openly LGBTQ Commissioner at the FCC and the first whose career comes almost exclusively out of the public interest advocacy community. Sohn is a tremendous policy mind and a fierce advocate for the communications and free expression needs of all people. At the same time she has a keen understanding of the need to work with others towards change, even those you may initially disagree with. I know this first hand, having been hired and mentored by her at Public Knowledge, the organization she founded with Laurie Racine and David Bollier. At Public Knowledge she built a culture of bold advocacy and nuanced policy analysis. Sohn never compromised her principles, but also knew when it was necessary to talk with strange bedfellows or make a deal that improved the public interest. This is why she is well-respected by tech policy experts on the right and left, in industry and nonprofits alike. She continued to work in that same spirit as a Senior Advisor to FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler, and in her work since then at the Benton Foundation and Georgetown University Law School.

“This nomination is one of personal pride for me and the entire Public Knowledge staff and alumni. We have always been incredibly proud of Gigi’s leadership at the founding of Public Knowledge and her willingness to advise and mentor each of us after her time here. Public Knowledge and the broader public interest field is filled with people who sacrifice and work hard because they value the work, and many on our team could have chosen more lucrative places to work, including Gigi. To see her recognized and nominated to this important position validates the work and sacrifices she and other public interest advocates have made. I have every confidence that the country will benefit from her passion for fighting for what is right. Way to go, Gigi!

“Alan Davidson is an excellent selection to lead NTIA and also a policy expert with a background rooted in public interest values. His experience in industry and as the head of the Open Technology Institute at New America were noted for policy savvy and collaborative work, and that has continued at Mozilla. Davidson will be a steady, experienced hand at the head of an agency with great impact on spectrum management across the government and, potentially, with added responsibility to close the digital divide if the current infrastructure package is passed. I have great confidence in his skills and experience and we look forward to working with him again in this important role.”