Every four years, as a new Presidential administration begins and Congress has a new list of priorities, there are always new executive positions that must be confirmed by the Senate. This year is no exception. A significant non-cabinet level appointment includes filling a vacancy at the Federal Communications Commission. 

The FCC is the agency tasked with charting the course for affordable internet and telecommunications access. When the COVID-19 pandemic continues to force residents to work, learn, access healthcare, and interact with loved ones virtually, ensuring that all Americans have reliable Internet access is urgent, and the agency’s work is of paramount importance.  

On January 28, 2021, Next Century Cities along with public interests allies asked the White House to expediently nominate, and the Senate to quickly confirm, a new Commissioner to the FCC. The letter highlighted the following points:

  • 80 Million people in the United States do not have access to adequate broadband at home, which disproportionately affects low income and minority families. 
  • There are many urgent agenda items that face the FCC, however, lack of a clear majority will prevent any meaningful work from being completed. 

Acting quickly will ensure that the agency has the ability and the resources to address the digital divide in communities across the country. Generally, the longer a new administration waits to appoint a new FCC Commissioner, the longer and more difficult it will be to refine initiatives that are already in place, or institute new programs where none presently exist. Read the joint letter here.