Entries Matching: NTIA
After months of waiting, the Senate confirmed two key members of the Obama communications and technology team: new FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski and National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) director Larry Strickling (his official title is Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Communications and Information). And not a moment too soon.
Here is what is facing the new leaders right now: NTIA (along with the Rural Utilities Service) is expected to issue its "Notice of Funds Availability" imminently for the $7.2 billion in broadband stimulus money, and that "NOFA" will include the rules for applying for the grants, as well as the conditions (like non-discrimination) with which a grantee much comply.
The following statement is attributed to Gigi B. Sohn, president and co-founder of Public Knowledge:
"We welcomed the news that the Senate this evening confirmed Larry Strickling to be the director of the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA).
"The agency faces some challenging months ahead in setting the ground rules for, and then administering, a $4.7 billion telecommunications stimulus program that ranges from broadband mapping to creating demand for services to building networks. Larry's leadership will be welcomed as his agency takes on the monumental tasks before it."
The Senate Commerce Committee has announced confirmation hearings for Larry Strickling as head of NTIA and Aneesh Chopra for CTO. Hopefully, swift confirmation by the full Senate will follow.
I really can't stress too much how important it is to get the Administration up to full strength. Which is why the delay in confirmation for Genachowski, Adelstein, and Clyburn are is unfortunate. Everyone understands the time pressure to start spending stimulus money. But that hardly covers the damage of having the major telecom and IT elements of the Administration stuck in a holding pattern. I'm sitting here at the Free Press Changing Media Summit where everyone is debating the urgency of resolving dozens of critical issues -- from the issue du jour of saving newspapers to the insanely detailed problem of special access.
Once in a while, we must bow to tradition. One of those is the irrelevant, but inescapable, evaluation of the president after 100 days in office.
The Obama Internet and tech agenda came roaring out of the transition and Inauguration under a full head of steam. Now, more or less creeping along, bogged down and becalmed largely by circumstances beyond its control. It may be months before the Obama team regains its full-power tech policy mojo. It may be longer before they regain the tech chops that made the campaign such a juggernaut. And yet, there is reason to hope.
Throughout the presidential campaign, the Obama team had the most complete and progressive tech policy and tech-policy team ever assembled.