Posted at 1:28 PM
U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker today announced that the U.S. Commerce Department will co-chair the Broadband Opportunity Council, a new federal government initiative aimed at increasing broadband investment and reducing barriers to broadband deployment and adoption.
President Obama today signed a Presidential Memorandum formally creating the Council and appointing the Commerce and Agriculture Departments as co-chairs. The Broadband Opportunity Council includes 25 federal agencies and departments that will engage with industry and other stakeholders to understand ways the government can better support the needs of communities seeking broadband investment. It will also help identify regulatory barriers unduly impeding broadband deployment or competition, and take steps to remove such barriers.
“Broadband access is a critical component of the infrastructure America needs to compete in the 21st century global economy,” said Secretary Pritzker. “We look forward to working with our federal partners, industry, and other stakeholders to make it easier for communities across the country to have easy access to fast, affordable broadband technology.”
The Commerce Department, through the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), has been a leader in helping communities across the country expand their broadband capacity and use. NTIA began these efforts with the Broadband Technology Opportunities Program, the broadband grant program funded by the 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, and now through the new BroadbandUSA initiative, which provides technical assistance to communities seeking to expand broadband deployment and adoption.
As part of this new effort, Secretary Pritzker designated Assistant Secretary for Communications and Information and NTIA Administrator Lawrence E. Strickling to serve as Commerce’s representative on the Broadband Opportunity Council. The Council will build on Commerce’s interagency work, which has promoted greater coordination on broadband policies and sharing best practices to promote broadband infrastructure and adoption funding.
“At NTIA, we have seen firsthand how essential broadband is to schools, public safety, health care, businesses and most other sectors of society,” said Assistant Secretary Strickling. “The interagency effort the council is undertaking will help marshal the resources of multiple federal agencies to promote opportunities to advance broadband deployment and adoption across the country.”
NTIA will bring its broadband expertise to the council, and will ensure that communities’ needs, ideas and issues are reflected in the deliberations.
To learn more about the Broadband Opportunity Council, visit: https://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2015/03/23/fact-sheet-next-steps-delivering-fast-affordable-broadband.