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Levin, head of FCC's broadband push, goes to Aspen Institute

Blair Levin, executive director of the Federal Communications Commission's broadband initiative, will join the Aspen Institute's Communications and Society Program as a fellow, the FCC announced Thursday.

Levin led a year-long effort that produced dozens of policy proposals to bring high-speed fiber, wireless and cable Internet services to 90 percent of all Americans by 2020.
He will join the Aspen Institute on May 7. He was expected to leave the agency after completing the plan.

“Blair has been masterful in providing wisdom to the commission about how technology and market trends interact with the nation’s public policy agenda,” said FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski.

The national broadband plan aims to bring 100 megabit connections to 100 million homes within a decade.

Details of the plan have set off lobbying battles in Washington expected to extend for years. Broadcasters are loath to easily give up spectrum that wireless service providers want for its users to access the Web through their phones and tablets. Television set top box makers such as Motorola are against a policy to introduce more competition to a market closely held by cable and satellite providers, while companies such as Google and Roku see opportunity in such regulation. And big mobile service providers are against a push for rules that would force wireless service providers to share their networks with smaller competitors.

On Wednesday, Sen. Jay Rockefeller in a hearing, however, said the plan needed more specific details that would fulfill its goals, saying it was "long on vision but short on tactics."

Levin has been a key member of President Obama's tech policy team during the transition from the election to taking over the office of the presidency.

Levin was a managing director at investment firm Stifel Nicolaus, where he lead its technology policy research. And he had served as chief of staff to former FCC chairman Reed Hundt from 1993 to 1997.

“Blair Levin is one of the premier communications strategists in the country,” said Charles Firestone, executive director of the Communications and Society Program. “We look forward to his advice and counsel in the next few months.”

By Cecilia Kang  |  April 15, 2010; 3:39 PM ET
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Bye Blair. Thanks for your public service. Too bad, for whatever reason, you chose to lead a know-nothing consultant driven project that produced a turd of a term paper, one full of goals with no way of getting there; one that industry loves, and the public hates.

As you reflect on the impact of the national broadband plan, reflect on this: a missed opportunity will always remain missed.

Have fun in Aspen. We eagerly await news of your return to reap the rewards of the wireless and wired duopoly this "plan" will ensure.


Posted by: DottieBunch | April 15, 2010 5:30 PM | Report abuse

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