Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel: click for press photo

Federal Communications Commission Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel believes that the future belongs to the connected. She works to promote greater opportunity, accessibility, and affordability in our communications services in order to ensure that all Americans get a fair shot at 21st century success. She believes strong communications markets can foster economic growth and security, enhance digital age opportunity, and enrich our civic life.

From fighting to protect net neutrality to ensuring access to the internet for students caught in the Homework Gap, Jessica has been a consistent champion for connecting all. She is a leader in spectrum policy, developing new ways to support wireless services from Wi-Fi to video and the internet of things. She also is responsible for developing policies to help expand the reach of broadband to schools, libraries, hospitals, and households across the country.

Named as one of POLITICO's 50 Politicos to Watch and profiled by InStyle Magazine in a series celebrating "women who show up, speak up and get things done," Jessica brings over two decades of communications policy experience and public service to the FCC. Prior to joining the agency, she served as Senior Communications Counsel for the United States Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, under the leadership of Senator John D. Rockefeller IV and Senator Daniel Inouye. Before entering public service, Jessica practiced communications law in Washington, DC.

She is a native of Hartford, Connecticut. She is a graduate of Wesleyan University and New York University School of Law. She lives in Washington, DC with her husband and two children.

 

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Narda Jones

Chief of Staff

Narda serves as FCC Chief of Staff having joined the Chairwoman’s leadership team from the White House where she was the Director of Legislative Affairs for the Office of Science and Technology Policy. Prior to that, she was the Senior Technology Policy Advisor for the Democratic staff of the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Transportation and Science. Narda started working in the U.S. Senate for Senator Maria Cantwell of Washington in 2014, after spending over a decade in senior roles in the Federal Communications Commission’s Wireline and International Bureaus. She also previously worked at the Minnesota Attorney General’s Office and the Minneapolis City Attorney’s Office. In addition, she was part of the inaugural class of the AmeriCorps Legal Fellowship program and spent her fellowship time aiding homeless families secure housing and public benefits in St. Paul, Minnesota. Born and raised in Brooklyn, New York, Jones is a graduate of Wesleyan University and Brooklyn Law School.

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Deena Shetler

Deputy Chief of Staff for Administration

Deena serves as Deputy Chief of Staff for Administration. She previously served as Deputy Chief of the Office of Economics and Analytics, Deputy Managing Director, several leadership roles in the Wireline Competition Bureau, and as a Legal Advisor to Commissioner Gloria Tristani. Deena served on details to the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) from 2010 to 2011 and to the Department of Justice Antitrust Division from 2016-2017. Deena joined the Commission in 1996 as an attorney in the Common Carrier Bureau. Prior to joining the FCC, she was an associate at Howrey and Simon in Washington D.C. and Los Angeles. Deena received her J.D., Order of the Coif, from University of California Los Angeles School of Law, and her B.A. from University of California San Diego.

Umair Javed

Umair Javed

Chief Counsel

Umair serves as Chairwoman Rosenworcel's Chief Counsel. From October 2017 through January 2021, he served as then-Commissioner Rosenworcel's legal advisor for wireless and international issues. Umair joined the FCC from Wiley Rein LLP, where he was an attorney in the firm's Telecom, Media, and Technology practice group. Umair also has served on U.S. delegations to treaty-writing conferences and meetings of the International Telecommunication Union and as Commissioner of the Consumer Protection Commission of Fairfax County. He graduated from the University of Virginia and received his JD from the University of Virginia School of Law.

Priscilla Delgado Argeris

Priscilla Delgado Argeris

Chief Legal Advisor

Priscilla serves as Chairwoman Rosenworcel’s Chief Legal Advisor. She joined the Chairwoman’s office from Meta Platforms, Inc. where she has focused on spectrum policy issues for the company across the globe. From 2012-2015, she previously served as then-Commissioner Rosenworcel’s Legal Advisor and Senior Legal Advisor covering wireline and wireless issues for the office during her tenure. Prior to joining the FCC, Priscilla worked at the law firm Wiley Rein, where she focused regulatory and litigation matters involving federal and state communications law. She received her undergraduate degree from Princeton University and her law degree from New York University School of Law.

D’wana Terry

D’wana Terry

Special Advisor to the Chairwoman and Acting Director of the Office of Workplace Diversity

D’wana advises the Chairwoman on work the agency can do to identify and redress inequities in its policies and programs while also continuing to serve as the Acting Director of the Office of Workplace Diversity. The Office of Workplace Diversity ensures that the provides employment opportunities for all persons regardless of race, color, sex, national origin, religion, age, disability, or sexual preference. D’wana has served in numerous senior positions at the FCC since joining the agency from private practice in 1994. Most recently, she was associate bureau chief of the Wireline Competition Bureau. She has also served as an associate bureau chief and chief of staff in both the Wireless Telecommunications Bureau and the Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau and as acting deputy bureau chief of CGB. In addition, she previously served as chief of the Wireless Bureau’s Public Safety & Critical Infrastructure Division. She graduated from Lafayette College and received her JD from the University of Virginia School of Law.

Sanford Williams

Sanford Williams

Special Advisor to the Chairwoman

Sanford advises the Chairwoman on work the agency can do to identify and expand opportunities for communities that have been historically underserved. Sanford has worked in various roles at the FCC since 1999. He also worked as an attorney for Womble, Carlyle, Sandridge & Rice and taught at Augusta State University in Georgia. Mr. Williams graduated from Cornell University where he earned an undergraduate degree in operations research and industrial engineering and a Master’s in Business Administration from the Johnson School of Management. He earned his law degree from the University of Virginia School of Law where he was a member of the Virginia Law Review.

Holly Saurer

Holly Saurer

Chief of the Media Bureau, Legal Advisor to the Chairwoman

Holly joins the office from the Media Bureau, where she has held several positions, including Deputy Bureau Chief, Associate Bureau Chief, Senior Legal Advisor and Attorney-Advisor with the Media Bureau’s Policy Division. Holly has previously served as an Acting Media Advisor for Commissioners Rosenworcel and Clyburn, and an International and Consumer Affairs Legal Advisor for Chairman Wheeler. Prior to joining the Commission, Holly worked at the Washington, DC offices of Drinker Biddle & Reath and Miller & Van Eaton. Holly received her JD from American University and graduated from Syracuse University’s Newhouse School of Public Communication.

Ethan Lucarelli

Ethan Lucarelli

Legal Advisor, Wireless and International

Ethan joins the office from the Wireless Telecommunications Bureau, where he served as legal and policy advisor to the Bureau Chief. Previously, Ethan was Director of Regulatory & Public Policy at Inmarsat, a global satellite communications company, and an attorney in the Telecommunications, Media, and Technology group at law firm Wiley Rein LLP. Ethan also is a Professorial Lecturer in Law at the George Washington University Law School, teaching courses in Telecommunications Law and Scholarly Writing. Ethan earned his JD with highest honors from George Washington University Law School and a Bachelor of Science in Communications from the University of Illinois.

Ramesh Nagarajan

Ramesh Nagarajan

Legal Advisor, Wireline and Enforcement

Ramesh joins the office from the Wireline Competition Bureau, where he was most recently Deputy Division Chief of the Competition Policy Division. He also served as a law clerk to United States District Judge James D. Whittemore in the Middle District of Florida. Ramesh began his legal career practicing antitrust and competition law at O'Melveny & Myers LLP. Before attending law school, he served as a Legislative Assistant to Representative Lois Capps. He is a graduate of Princeton University and Harvard Law School.

Carmen Scurato

Carmen Scurato

Legal Advisor, Consumer and Public Safety

Carmen Scurato joins the Chairwoman’s office from Free Press where she served as Associate Legal Director and Senior Counsel covering telecommunications, privacy, and technology issues. Previously, she was the Vice President of Policy and General Counsel for the National Hispanic Media Coalition, where she led a policy team focused on advancing the communication needs of the Latinx community. She has served on the FCC’s Consumer Advisory Committee, the American Library Association’s Public Policy Council, and participated in the Aspen Institute Conference on Communications Policy. Earlier in her career, Mrs. Scurato worked with the Department of Justice in both the Civil Frauds section, specializing in False Claims Act investigations, and in the Office of Legislative Affairs. A native of Puerto Rico, Mrs. Scurato received her undergraduate degree from New York University and her law degree from Villanova University.

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David Strickland

Legal Advisor, Media

David joins the office from the Enforcement Bureau, where he most recently served as Assistant Bureau Chief, managing consumer protection, privacy, and media enforcement matters. David also served as Assistant Division Chief in the International Bureau, where he worked on a variety of satellite, telecommunications policy, and spectrum-related issues. Before joining the FCC, he was an attorney in private practice, specializing in litigation and antitrust issues. David is a graduate of the University of Virginia and Harvard Law School.

Andi Roane-Wiley

Andi Roane

Confidential Assistant

Andi joins the office after serving in the offices of former Chairman Pai, former Chairman Wheeler, and Commissioner Simington. In prior FCC service, Andi served as the special assistant to the chief of the Wireless Telecommunications Bureau. Previously, she worked as an executive assistant for more than two decades in the private sector.

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Aurelle Porter

Executive Assistant

Aurelle has worked in then-Commissioner Rosenworcel’s office since 2018 and has been at the Federal Communications Commission since 2006. During her time at the agency, she has served as Special Assistant in the Office of Legislative Affairs and as a Staff Assistant to former FCC Chairman Kevin J. Martin.

Ovonda Walker

Ovonda Walker

Executive Assistant

Ovonda has over 16 years of federal government service. Most recently, she was a Staff Assistant in Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau as well as, Commissioner Michael O’Rielly’s office at the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). Prior to joining the O’Rielly office, Ovonda’s federal service includes: Executive Secretary to the Deputy Inspector General for Policy and Oversight at the Department of Defense; Secretary in the Civil Rights Division at the Department of Justice; Clerk Typist/Secretary at NASA Headquarters; and Clerk Typist at the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Services. She has also worked as a federal government contractor at the FCC in the Office of Chairman Tom Wheeler; at the Federal Aviation Administration; and at the Department of Defense/Defense Information Systems Network.

April 28, 2021

May Open Meeting Agenda

Jessica Rosenworcel | Acting Chairwoman

This Friday marks the 100th day since my appointment as Acting Chairwoman of the FCC. As with any milestone, it is just as important to look back at what we’ve accomplished, as it is to look to the future. And I’m pleased to announce an agenda for our May meeting that will advance multiple measures to tackle issues that have been longstanding at the Commission.

  • We’re lowering the high cost for Americans to call incarcerated loved ones. Despite evidence that regular contact with family can reduce recidivism, the 2.3 million people in U.S. jails and prisons and their loved ones often have to pay egregiously high rates to talk on the phone. This May, the Commission will vote to lower interstate phone rates by 33-to-42% for the vast majority of incarcerated people and also limit international rates for the first time. It’s been nearly two decades since Martha Wright, a grandmother who simply wanted to talk to her grandson, filed a petition calling on the FCC to do something about the high rates that incarcerated persons and their families pay to stay in touch. Next month, the Commission will take another step in addressing this longstanding issue.
  • We’re strengthening a vital service for Americans who use sign language. Video Relay Services make it possible for individuals with hearing and speech impairments to connect with others. Using a broadband video link, the VRS user signs to a communications assistant, who interprets the signs by voice to the telephone user and signs the response back to the VRS user. To keep this program on solid footing, the Commission will vote on an item to extend the current VRS compensation rates through the end of 2021, while seeking comment on provider compensation for the future.
  • We’re continuing to crack down on unwanted robocalls. Many of us have been duped by automated calls with “spoofed” numbers that look like they are coming from somebody in your community. For years, we’ve heard about caller ID technology known as STIR/SHAKEN that promises to authenticate phone numbers and make it easier to block fraudulent calls before they ever reach your phone. The FCC has set a deadline for most large voice providers to implement STIR/SHAKEN by June 2021, but we gave small voice providers a two-year extension to adopt this technology. Faced with new evidence that an increasing quantity of illegal robocalls are originating with a subset of small voice providers, I’ve circulated a proposal to shorten this extension for some companies who are likely to be the source of illegal robocalls.
  • We’re providing regulatory relief for small phone and internet providers. When companies that receive model-based and rate-of-return universal service seek to merge, the Commission applies its “mixed support” merger condition to prevent gaming of the system. But in some circumstances applying this condition doesn’t make sense and can even get in the way of providing broadband service in rural areas. So, next month we will consider an order to clarify our policies and fix this situation.
  • Lastly the Commission will consider two enforcement matters.
March 31, 2021

April Open Meeting Agenda

Jessica Rosenworcel | Acting Chairwoman

Tomorrow is Opening Day at ballparks across America, but I’m not waiting until then to roll out our lineup for the FCC’s April meeting. Here’s what’s on deck:

  • We’re advancing U.S. leadership in a new era of commercial space launches. Thanks to powerfully innovative American companies, commercial space launches are becoming more common. Last year, United States companies sent 39 rockets into orbit, up from only 7 in 2012. Yet despite the revolutionary activity in our atmosphere, the regulatory frameworks we rely on to support these efforts are dated. The FCC will vote on a proposal to make much needed spectrum available for the first time to support the private launch industry. We will also consider a rulemaking to explore how the FCC can continue to support future communications needs of this growing industry.
  • We’re making it easier to access mental health and suicide prevention services. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline—1-800-273-8255—helps people in crisis. Beginning next summer, you will be able to reach the Lifeline to have a voice conversation by dialing just three digits—988. I’ve circulated a proposal for the Commission to consider the next step—requiring carriers to support text messaging to 988. This change could make it even easier for vulnerable communities, including young people, low-income individuals, LGBTQ individuals, and individuals who are deaf and hard of hearing, to connect and seek the help they need.
  • We’re continuing our efforts to improve the reliability of 911. Over the last two months we’ve taken action to stop 911 fee diversion, better prepare for emergencies like Winter Storm Uri, and update the way Americans receive emergency alerts. Now we will consider a proposal to harmonize and strengthen our rules for reporting 911 outages. Better outage reporting can save people from wasting time on repeated 911 calls that won’t be answered, which can ultimately save lives.
  • We’re opening the door to new wireless microphone technologies. Whether they run a music venue or a convention center, users of wireless microphones want the spectrum capacity to accommodate multiple speakers or performers. An emerging technology called Wireless Multi-Channel Audio System (WMAS) uses spectrum more efficiently, which enables the use of more microphones per megahertz of spectrum available. The Commission will vote on a proposal to allow this new wireless microphone system to operate on a licensed basis, while also exploring the use of this technology on an unlicensed basis.
  • We’re enhancing transparency of foreign-government-sponsored programming. If you are consuming programming broadcast over the public airwaves, you have the right to know who is behind that content. Although the law restricts foreign governments and their representatives from holding a broadcast license directly, foreign governmental entities are increasingly purchasing time on domestic broadcast stations. At the April Open Meeting, the Commission will vote to adopt new sponsorship identification requirements to disclose when foreign governments or their representatives lease time to broadcast content on our airwaves. These rules will help to ensure transparency of foreign government-sponsored broadcast content in the United States.
  • We’re expanding educational programming over FM airwaves. This past October, the Commission announced it would open an application filing window for new noncommercial educational (NCE) FM stations, the first in over a decade. The Commission also sought public comment on what would be an appropriate limit for applications. In three weeks, the Commission will vote on a Public Notice that sets that applications cap at 10. The public record and prior experience shows that the 10-application cap strikes the best balance of the Commission’s objectives—providing a meaningful opportunity for applicants to file for new NCE FM stations in to expand service while, at the same time, deterring speculative applications and procedural delays.
  • We’re closing the books on the successful reconfiguration of spectrum for public safety systems. In 2004, the Commission adopted a plan to relocate Sprint’s commercial services in the upper range of the 800 MHz band while relocating public safety services to the lower end of the band. Over 2,100 licensees have been successfully relocated to new channels in the band, with no interruption to public safety communications during the transition. The re-banding process is now essentially complete. Accordingly, the Commission will consider an Order to close out the re-banding program and terminate the proceeding.
  • Lastly, the Commission will consider an enforcement matter.

Jessica

March 16, 2021

A Running Start on New Broadband Maps

Jessica Rosenworcel | Acting Chairwoman

It is more apparent than ever that broadband is no longer nice to have. It’s need to have. Yet we know that in some parts of this country finding a reliable connection to the online world is not easy. But exactly how many people face this problem? Where do they live? And what technology could work best to connect them? We need answers to these basic questions so we can close the gap between the digital haves and have nots.

To do this, we have to start with accurate broadband maps. But the ones this agency has used in the past are not up to the task. They didn’t get the job done.

So now we need to set up a new method for collecting information to build a comprehensive, user-friendly dataset on broadband availability—one that will consider input from state and local governments, Tribal nations, and consumers, supplementing information we gather from carriers. We must also develop, test, and launch IT systems to collect and verify these data. Then we will create—for the first time—a publicly accessible, data-based nationwide map of locations where broadband is truly available throughout the United States.

We have talked about doing this for years and years, but the agency failed to get it done. Congress even prodded the FCC a year ago to fix this situation with a new law—the Broadband DATA Act—and then late last year provided the funding to implement it.

In a matter of weeks we have already made progress and there’s much more going on behind the scenes:

First, in my first meeting as Acting Chairwoman, I announced the formation of the Broadband Data Task Force to coordinate and expedite the design and construction of new systems for collecting and verifying data to carry out the law and more accurately measure and reflect our broadband needs. When I assumed office, one of the first things I did was assess the status of this effort. What I learned was that we had a lot of work to do and hadn’t yet begun many of the steps required to actually build a collection system. So I made creation of the Broadband Data Task Force a priority in order to kick-start this work.

Second, we launched an effort to put the right mix of tools and talent in place. We procured an expert data architect and design firm to work with the Commission’s own data and IT systems specialists. This is important because these experts will design the complex web of databases, systems and public-facing portals that can support the new Broadband Data Collection data and the several public-facing maps we will generate.

Third, we moved quickly to issue a Request for Information to jump start the contracting process for the creation of the Broadband Serviceable Location Fabric, a common dataset of all locations in the United States where fixed broadband internet access service can be installed. This dataset will be one of the building blocks of our data collection and will help give us an accurate and comprehensive picture of the availability of fixed broadband service throughout the country.

What’s Coming Next? This is the best part. In the coming days we’ll be launching a new tool for consumers and others interested in learning more about our mapping efforts. It will allow consumers to share their experience with the Task Force to let us know when broadband has (and has not) reached where they live. Opening communication with consumers early in this process is so important because the best broadband map won’t be built in Washington, it will be built by all of us, with input from everyone, everywhere.

Stay tuned for more progress reports as we move quickly to meet this challenge.

Jessica

February 23, 2021

March Open Meeting Agenda

Jessica Rosenworcel | Acting Chairwoman

Here’s a preview of what we have on deck for our March Open Meeting. It’s a flurry of orders, rulemakings, inquiries, and adjudications aimed at advancing the United States’ economic recovery and preparing for a post-COVID world. So, here’s what we’ve got:

  • We’re taking steps to better prepare for emergencies like Winter Storm Uri. We know that the breakdown of communications during an emergency can lead to preventable loss of life and damage to property. So the FCC will consider an Order that would permit the agency to share important information about communications outages with state and federal partners. This will go a long way to ensuring that downed networks are restored quickly and that emergency operations are not delayed. My thoughts are with those affected, and we stand ready to help.
  • We’re proposing updates to the way Americans receive emergency alerts wherever they are—on their phones, on television, and on radio. We will consider a rulemaking that proposes new rules to keep the public safe and informed during emergencies and disasters, and an inquiry on whether it would be possible to deliver emergency alerts via other forms of communications. This will implement the bipartisan READI Act, which was enacted into law as Section 9201 of the William M. (Mac) Thornberry National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2021.
  • We are taking significant action to help deliver the 5G you were promised. That means 5G that is fast, secure, resilient, and most importantly, available across the country. We will do that by considering an Order that will make much-needed mid-band spectrum in the 3.45-3.55 GHz band available for 5G, and a Public Notice that will seek comment on how we should auction this spectrum to ensure that it is put to use quickly in service of the American people. This Order demonstrates what’s possible when we work together—it is the result of moving with unprecedented speed and in collaboration with the National Telecommunications and Information Administration and the Department of Defense. Most importantly, we propose to get started quickly—with an auction start date in early October.
  • We are exploring opportunities to build a better, a more secure 5G network of the future. We will launch an inquiry on the benefits and challenges of building 5G radio access networks with open and interoperable technologies. With this inquiry, we will start to compile a record about how we can secure our vulnerable supply chains once and for all and revitalize the nation’s 5G leadership and innovation.
  • Finally, our March Open Meeting will feature an item from our Enforcement Bureau and two national security items. In order to protect the confidentiality of those actions, I can’t talk about them in detail just yet, but I look forward to sharing them with you at the meeting.
February 22, 2021

Let's Make Sure the Cost of Internet Access Doesn't Keep Americans Offline

Jessica Rosenworcel | Acting Chairwoman

As we work our way through a pandemic that has upended so much in our day-to-day life, we have been asked to migrate so many of the things we do online. From work to healthcare to education, this crisis has made it clear that without an internet connection, too many households are locked out of modern life. But across the country, there are those struggling to afford this critical service. To address this problem, late last year Congress directed the FCC to establish a new Emergency Broadband Benefit Program to assist families struggling to pay for internet service during the pandemic. Today I’m proud to advance a proposal to implement this program to help as many eligible families as possible.

I know there are a lot of questions about the program. Here’s a quick rundown of what you need to know:

So, first things first, what is the Emergency Broadband Benefit Program? And what exactly does it do?

  • The Emergency Broadband Benefit Program was created by Congress in the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021.
  • Through the program, eligible households may receive a discount off the cost of broadband service and certain connected devices during an emergency period relating to the COVID-19 pandemic. Participating providers can be reimbursed for such discounts.

How much is the discount?

  • A $50/month discount for eligible broadband;
  • A $75/month discount for eligible broadband on Tribal lands; and
  • A one-time $100 reimbursement for laptops, tablets and computers purchased through a qualified provider.

Who is eligible for the Emergency Broadband Benefit Program?

A household is eligible if one member of the household:

  • Qualifies for the Lifeline program;
  • Receives benefits under the free and reduced-price school lunch program or the school breakfast program;
  • Experienced a substantial loss of income since February 29, 2020;
  • Received a Federal Pell Grant; or
  • Meets the eligibility criteria for a participating providers’ existing low-income or COVID-19 program.

So, what’s next? Today I shared the proposed rules for the Emergency Benefit Broadband Program with my colleagues. The next step in that process is for the Commissioners to consider the program structure and rules and then vote. Once that is complete, the law requires us to review requests from interested providers who want to participate in the program, and we will also continue to develop the system we will use to administer the program. We are working hard to be able to announce the start date for the program.

The bottom line: No one should have to choose between paying their internet bill or paying to put food on the table. With the help of the Emergency Broadband Benefit, we have a new way for households to access virtual learning, for patients to connect to telehealth providers, and for those struggling in this pandemic to learn new online skills and seek their next job. I urge the FCC to act swiftly to help as many households and families as possible take advantage of the Emergency Broadband Benefit Program. To learn more, sign up to be a partner in our outreach efforts by visiting, fcc.gov/broadbandbenefit.

Jessica

Broadband: With Jessica Rosenworcel

Broadband Conversations

Dedicated to amplifying the voices of women who are making a difference in our digital lives.

Broadband Conversations is dedicated to highlighting women who are making an impact on our digital lives. Each episode, Federal Communications Commission Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel will talk to women who are breaking new ground and forging new paths in technology, media, and innovation about what they're working on, what's on their minds, what they think is the next for the future. Because there are just too few, it's time to amplify these women's voices.

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