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Chooses senior staffers who will work on the development of a National Broadband Plan as part of the Omnibus Broadband Initiative

FCC Names Broadband Team

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Light Reading
8/5/2009
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WASHINGTON -- Federal Communications Commission Chairman Julius Genachowski today announced the appointment of several senior staffers who will work on the development of a National Broadband Plan as part of the Omnibus Broadband Initiative.

“A brilliant team of senior staff has been assembled who possess the deep and wide-ranging expertise necessary to assess the nation’s broadband needs and help bring high speed, affordable broadband to all Americans,” Chairman Genachowski said. “I am grateful that these individuals have already proven their commitment to this daunting task by agreeing to work under the pressing deadline of delivering a plan to Congress by Feb. 17, 2010. Developing the National Broadband Plan will require enormous effort on the part of dozens of current FCC staff who will be enlisted to contribute their talents, ideas, and insights for this initiative. And I am delighted by the decision of so many of others to set aside their successful ventures in the private sector to also join in serving the public interest. Broadband is our generation’s major infrastructure challenge and it is a top priority to craft a National Broadband Plan that will unlock opportunity, foster innovation and investment, and improve the lives of all Americans.”

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, directed the FCC to submit a National Broadband Plan to Congress by February 17, 2010 that addresses broadband deployment, adoption, affordability, and the use of broadband to advance solutions to national priorities, including health care, education, energy efficiency, public safety, job creation, investment, and others. Senior staff participating in the FCC’s Omnibus Broadband Initiative are:

• Erik Garr, General Manager. Mr. Garr is on leave from Diamond Management and Technology Consultants, a consulting firm that he helped grow from a small private firm into a publicly traded global company, where he is a partner. At Diamond, Mr. Garr built and led consulting teams engaged on broadband issues for the U.S. Navy, the City of New York, and the World Economic Forum. He earned a Master’s degree in Public Policy from University of Chicago, and a B.A. with high honors from the University of Michigan.

• Brian David, Adoption and Usage Director. Mr. David has held senior management positions where he helped build several entrepreneurial technology and communications companies, and has also covered media and telecom clients as a strategy consultant and investment banker. He ran business development and sales for Visage Mobile, ran consumer marketing and worked in strategy and business development for data services company NorthPoint Communications, and handled business development for Moxi Digital. Prior to his operating experience, he was a media banker at Goldman Sachs and a consultant to telecommunications clients at Bain & Company. He earned an M.B.A. from Harvard Business School and a B.A., cum laude, from Duke University.

• Kristen Kane, National Purposes Director. Ms. Kane was Chief Operating Officer of the New York City Department of Education, where she was responsible for the implementation of the Bloomberg administration's reform strategy as well as oversight of daily operations. She also served as a vice president and equity research analyst at JP Morgan and worked at Salomon Smith Barney prior to that. She earned an M.B.A. with a Certificate in Public Management from Stanford Graduate School of Business, and a B.A. from Yale College.

• John Horrigan, Consumer Research Director. Mr. Horrigan was Associate Director, Research, with the Pew Internet & American Life Project, where he analyzed survey data and draft reports for the Pew Internet Project. He was principal author of the report, Measuring Broadband, and author of over 40 other reports and data memoranda. Mr. Horrigan also served as legislative assistant and press secretary to U.S. Congressman Jake Pickle. He earned a Ph.D. in Public Policy from the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Administration at the University of Texas at Austin, where he also earned a Masters in Public Affairs. He earned a B.A. in Economics and Government from the University of Virginia.

• Rob Curtis, Deployment Director. Mr. Curtis was a leader in the high-tech and telecom practice of McKinsey & Co., where he led over 20 engagements directly related to network operations and strategy. He was President of Network Operations and Engineering for a large Competitive Local Exchange Carrier (CLEC), and served on the CompTel Board of Directors and Executive Committee. He was also an attorney at Fulbright & Jaworski, L.L.P. in Houston. He earned a J.D. with Honors from Duke University School of Law, and a D. Phil. from Oxford University, where his dissertation dealt with the intersection of game theory and political theory.

• Julie Veach, Acting Chief, Wireline Competition Bureau, FCC. Ms. Veach is serving as the policy team lead for the broadband plan. As Acting Chief of the Wireline Competition Bureau, Ms. Veach leads many of the FCC’s efforts involving broadband, universal service, intercarrier compensation, competition, data gathering and analysis. Prior to serving as Acting Chief, she was Deputy Chief, and served a variety of positions in the Bureau’s Competition Policy Division. Before joining the FCC, she was an associate with Wilmer, Cutler & Pickering, and clerked for the Hon. Michael S. Kanne of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit. She graduated magna cum laude from the Indiana University School of Law in 1997, and earned a B.A. from Purdue University in 1993.

• John S. Leibovitz, Deputy Chief, Wireless Telecommunications Bureau, FCC. Mr. Leibovitz is serving as the broadband team lead for spectrum issues. Mr. Leibovitz recently joined the FCC from the Presidential Transition Team, where he helped to coordinate the Technology, Innovation, and Government Reform working group. Prior to the transition, Mr. Leibovitz worked as an entrepreneur and strategy consultant in the telecommunications industry, with an emphasis on the wireless sector. He started his business career with McKinsey & Company, in New York. He has written about technology and spectrum policy in the Yale Law Journal and the Yale Journal of Law and Technology. He received his B.A. from the University of Pennsylvania, an M.Phil. from Cambridge University, and a J.D. from Yale Law School.

• Donald Stockdale, Deputy Chief and Bureau Chief Economist Wireline Competition Bureau, FCC. Mr. Stockdale is serving as policy advisor to the broadband team. As Deputy Chief, he has supervised the FCC’s pricing policy proceedings, including intercarrier compensation reform, the review of all wireline mergers and other policy proceedings raising competition issues. He has also advised the FCC on various broadband policy initiatives. He taught business and public policy at the University of Maryland’s Business School, and was a litigation associate at Simpson Thatcher & Bartlett, where he specialized in U.S. and European antitrust law. He earned a B.A. J.D. and Ph.D. in Economics, all from Yale University, and a M.A. in economics from Kings College, Cambridge.

• Krista Witanowski, Attorney Advisor, Media Bureau, FCC. Ms. Witanowski is serving as Workshop Coordinator. Prior to her position in the Media Bureau, she worked as an Attorney Advisor in the Office of Strategic Planning and Policy Analysis. She began her legal career as an associate at Wiley Rein. She received her J.D., magna cum laude, from Syracuse University; her M.A. in TV/Radio/Film from S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications; and her undergraduate degree from the College of the Holy Cross.

• Christopher Lewis is a Legislative Analyst in the Office of Legislative Affairs at the FCC and is handling legislative affairs for the National Broadband Plan team. Before joining the Office of Legislative Affairs, Chris served as a Senior Advisor on the Digital Television Transition policy team. He has worked in politics and community organizing for eight years with experience in the office of Senator Edward M. Kennedy, civic engagement non-profit GenerationEngage, and several political campaigns at the local, state, and national levels. Chris graduated from Harvard University in 2002 with a B.A. in Government.

• Roger Goldblatt, Outreach and Policy Advisor, Consumer & Government Affairs Bureau, FCC. Mr. Goldblatt is Community Outreach Coordinator for the Omnibus Broadband Initiative. Mr. Goldblatt recently directed the national digital transition field outreach effort. Prior to joining the FCC, he was responsible for national outreach for the Presidential Council on Y2K Conversion. He has served in several White House Administrations, running the Health Care Reform Information Center and Office of Special Projects for the Clinton Administration. He has Masters from Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government and from Johns Hopkins University, and a B.A. from George Washington University.

• Mark Wigfield, Media Spokesman, Wireline Competition Bureau, FCC. Mr. Wigfield will be chief spokesman for the broadband team. In addition to his Wireline Bureau duties, he recently helped lead the FCC’s media relations team for the digital television transition. Prior to joining the FCC, he was a reporter covering technology and telecommunications for Dow Jones Newswires, where he also wrote numerous articles on technology for the Wall Street Journal. He was also a Washington correspondent for the company’s community newspaper division. He earned a B.A. from Beloit College.

Blair Levin will continue coordinating the Omnibus Broadband Initiative, for which he will serve as the Executive Director.

Federal Communications Commission (FCC)

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mfeastman
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mfeastman,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 3:59:07 PM
re: FCC Names Broadband Team


All of the individuals listed are policy wonks and public relations experts. Where are the experts who understand the technology issues? If this group is "brilliant", I'd hate to see what the government calls a mediocre group.

paolo.franzoi
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paolo.franzoi,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 3:59:07 PM
re: FCC Names Broadband Team


 


I guess you have not dealt with the FCC on a personal basis.  I have.  They are primarily lawyers/politicians.  There are very few technical experts/engineers/scientists on the staff as a percentage of the total.


seven


 


 


 

rjmcmahon
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rjmcmahon,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 3:59:05 PM
re: FCC Names Broadband Team


As much as I think engineers are needed to roll out broadband, I don't think there needs to be significant numbers of them on FCC staff.  This is primarily an economic, policy, political and legislative problem.  The staff posted seems ok to me but time will tell if they are effective or not,  or if they are just more of the same with respect to regulatory capture by the incumbents. 


(As an aside:  the previous adminsistration seemed to use the FCC for nepotism.  Getting passed that would be a good starting point for a new adminstration in my opinion.)   

paolo.franzoi
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paolo.franzoi,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 3:59:04 PM
re: FCC Names Broadband Team


 


The issue is with consultants is that they are hired and have an agenda.  They lobby, not straight advice.  Theoretically, people that work for the FCC should be supporting their own agenda not that of a 3rd party.


 


seven


 

rjmcmahon
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rjmcmahon,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 3:59:04 PM
re: FCC Names Broadband Team


Seven,  I don't see a need to put engineers on staff to address 911 or CALEA issues.  There are plenty of consultants that can help out with the technology aspects of these issues.


The biggest broadband challenge our country faces is on the investment side.  The FCC needs to put in place policies that stimulate significant outlays.  The previous FCC seemed to recognize the issue but then turned to ideological fantasy to solve the problem.  (Kinda like being diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and then turning to Joel Olsteen instead of an onocologist to treat the disease.)


It seems to me that the policy solution requires an in depth understanding about the market dynamics of natural monopolies as well as the political realities of a society that has been so brainwashed with "competition" propganda that it can no longer see the world as it really exists.  Most engineers don't have a clue about such human systems and human behaviors nor how to affect them to drive successful outcomes.  Considering the seriousness of the social illness, I'd probably prescribe a pyschologist over a technologist :)

paolo.franzoi
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paolo.franzoi,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 3:59:04 PM
re: FCC Names Broadband Team


rj,


I am always wondering if they have a proper balance.  They are regulating a technology industry that has plenty of social implications.  Let me use the questions I use to get people to think about it:


Do VoIP carriers have a 911 and CALEA responsibility?


  - Well clearly from past rulings Vonage and Cell Phone types do (even UMA phones).


  - Okay, so what is the number 1 service provider in terms of minutes per month of Voice over IP....answer Microsoft's X-box live.


  - Under what set of definitions do we have that makes X-box live not required to support 911 and CALEA?


I am not saying that they SHOULD have to support the social obligations of a carrier, but they are the largest VoIP carrier in the world.  I can come up with literally dozens of examples.  Many of them involve understanding the technology at a pretty deep level, something the FCC (and Congress) do not.


 


seven


 


 

rjmcmahon
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rjmcmahon,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 3:59:03 PM
re: FCC Names Broadband Team


Seven, don't know if goverment bureaucrats with their own agenda are any more objective than paid technology consultants.  Watch the movie In The Loop for a demonstration of what to expect out of that :)

rjmcmahon
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rjmcmahon,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 3:59:02 PM
re: FCC Names Broadband Team


Agreed that a few engineers on staff couldn't hurt.  I'm just not holding my breath that they are going to be the ones that turn things around for broadband.  What our industry needs is a politically powerful bureaucrat that doesn't kowtow to the incumbents but rather focuses on getting investment to folks that will build fiber outside plants.  Seems tough though as folks like Murdoch still don't have a revenue model that pays the bills.  My guess is we're going to get reports out of this FCC and not much else.

paolo.franzoi
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paolo.franzoi,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 3:59:02 PM
re: FCC Names Broadband Team


 


Of course that movie had that agenda....I don't even have to watch to know that.  But at the end of the day, Consultants work for fees and if somebody shows up and pays a fee they will get the report to say what it will say.  Bribing bureaucrats is a bit more difficult, not impossible.  But consultants have another name in Washington - LOBBYIST.


I agree that most of the FCC should not be technical, but there are actually engineers on staff there.  I just wonder if they could use a few more to keep up with all the technological changes.


seven


 

dhdeans
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dhdeans,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 3:58:56 PM
re: FCC Names Broadband Team


IMHO, this team needs a savvy marketing communications spokesperson -- the tough challenge is engaging mainstream Americans who still question the need for a national broadband policy.


Without their support, any resulting policy will likely fail to gain momentum.


Learn from past mistakes of prior public policy efforts on this topic, and focus instead on a clear articulate explanation of the compelling "economic development benefits" for all Americans.


 

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