Acting Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel: click for press photo

Federal Communications Commission Acting 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.

 

Travis Litman

Travis Litman

Acting Chief of Staff

Travis is an FCC veteran with over a decade’s experience at the agency. He served then-Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel’s office in different capacities including as Chief of Staff and Senior Legal Advisor. He also has held a variety of roles in the Federal Communications Commission’s Wireline Competition Bureau. In addition, he has served as Counsel on detail to the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, where he provided assistance to the Subcommittee on Communications, Technology, and the Internet. Before entering public service, Travis practiced communications law in Washington, DC. He is a graduate of Lewis & Clark College and the University of Colorado School of Law.

Kate Black

Kate Black

Acting Chief Policy Advisor

Kate has served as Acting Chairwoman Rosenworcel’s Policy Advisor since 2017. She joined the office from EMILY's List, where she served as Chief of Staff. Previously, Kate served as the Vice President of Research for EMILY's List, where she was responsible for policies regarding key issues facing American families. While in this role, she also served as Executive Director of American Women. Kate has held a variety of other policy and research positions at a diverse group of organizations, including the Democratic National Committee, the Service Employees International Union, and Hillary Clinton for President. She is the co-author, with June Diane Raphael, of "Represent: The Woman's Guide to Running for Office and Changing the World," published by Workman Publishing in 2019. She is a graduate of Miami University and holds a Master of Arts from George Washington University.

Umair Javed

Umair Javed

Acting Chief Counsel

Umair serves as Acting 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.

D’wana Terry

D’wana Terry

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

D’wana will advise the Acting 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

Acting Special Advisor to the Chairwoman and Director, Office of Business Communications Opportunities

Sanford will advise the Acting Chairwoman on work the agency can do to identify and expand opportunities for communities that have been historically underserved while also continuing to serve as Director of the Office of Communications Business Opportunities. The Office of Communications Business Opportunities promotes competition and innovation in telecommunications and information services and supports opportunities for small, women-owned, and minority-owned communications businesses. 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.

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Trent Harkrader

Acting Special Advisor to the Chairwoman and Deputy Bureau Chief, Wireline Competition Bureau

Trent will advise the Acting Chairwoman on implementation of the recent Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021, including its initiatives on broadband adoption and telehealth, while also continuing to serve as Deputy Bureau Chief in the Wireline Competition Bureau. Trent has been responsible for numerous Commission broadband policy initiatives since 2011. He has led major reforms of all four of the Commission’s universal service programs, spearheaded the agency’s work on the national security supply chain proceeding and, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, ran the Commission-wide initiative to help fund health care providers offering essential telehealth services to patients. Before joining the Bureau, Trent was an attorney advisor and division manager in the Enforcement Bureau.

Holly Saurer

Holly Saurer

Acting Legal Advisor, Media

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.

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David Strickland

Acting Legal Advisor, Consumer, Enforcement, and International

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.

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Ramesh Nagarajan

Acting Legal Advisor, Wireline

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.

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Ethan Lucarelli

Acting Legal Advisor, Wireless and Public Safety

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.

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Aurelle Porter

Acting Staff 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.

Andi Roane-Wiley

Andi Roane

Acting 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.

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

February 1, 2021

Addressing the Homework Gap

Jessica Rosenworcel | Acting Chairwoman

Maybe you’ve seen kids during this pandemic who are struggling without the broadband access they need for remote learning. They’re unable to head to virtual classrooms and participate in online education. Even when in-person class is in session, they wrestle with nightly schoolwork that requires internet access. You may find them—in rural and urban communities—sitting in parking lots or other public spaces where the wireless signal is free just to connect and keep up with their education.

This is an especially cruel part of the digital divide, known as the Homework Gap. Recent estimates suggest it may affect as many as 17 million kids. It’s time to do something about it.

Today the FCC is kicking off an emergency effort to get more students connected for school. We’re releasing a Public Notice asking for input on petitions that have been filed with the agency seeking support from the E-Rate program to help close the Homework Gap. By collecting feedback like this, we are taking a step forward. But we won’t consider the job done until we have policies in place that can help every student get the connection they now need for class, no matter who they are, where they live, or where they go to school.

I invite your feedback on the questions asked in the Public Notice and your ideas about how we can help ensure no child is left offline.

Jessica

January 26, 2021

February Open Meeting Agenda

Jessica Rosenworcel | Acting Chairwoman

Congress has given the FCC its marching orders, and we are not wasting time. There are significant tasks for the agency in last month’s new appropriations law. They include helping Americans afford broadband, expanding access to telehealth technologies, building better maps that reflect where high-speed service is and is not, and improving the safety and security of our nation’s communications. Our challenge now is to couple Congress’s vision with strategies for successful implementation, so we’re going to hit the ground running. It’s not time to think small—and we can’t afford to act slowly either. That’s why I have asked the FCC staff to prepare presentations for the Commission’s February Open Meeting on the plans for each of these tasks. So, here’s what’s on deck:

  • First, we’ll hear about progress on the effort to create an Emergency Broadband Benefit Program. In a historic move, Congress charged the FCC with developing a new $3.2 billion program to help Americans who are struggling to pay for internet service during the pandemic. With this new benefit, Americans who have low incomes or who have lost their jobs will be eligible for a monthly discount on internet service. This means more than just expanding access to communications. It means more people can work online or seek jobs online, more students can take classes online, and more patients can consult with their healthcare providers online.
  • Second, we’ll hear about the next steps for the agency’s COVID-19 Telehealth program. Congress breathed new life into this program by recently providing an additional $249.95 million in support. This will allow the FCC to continue its efforts to expand connected care throughout the country and help more patients seek healthcare safely.
  • Third, we’ll hear about the work the agency is doing to improve its broadband maps. I’ve always said you cannot manage what you do not measure. But for too long, the FCC has lacked the data it needs about precisely where service is and is not throughout the country. The good news is that Congress just appropriated $65 million to help the agency develop better data for improved maps so we can get started on this in earnest.
  • And lastly, our February agenda will feature two rulemakings seeking comment on security initiatives from Congress. The first involves 911 fee diversion and what we can do to stop it—because it’s not right when 911 fees on our phone bill do not wind up actually supporting 911. The second is an effort to square our rules with changes to the Secure and Trusted Communications Networks Act that were made in last month’s appropriations law, so we can remove insecure foreign equipment from our nation’s communications networks, making them more secure and more safe.

There’s lots to do—so let’s get to work!

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 Acting 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.

Episodes

#2513 minutes

Congresswoman Grace Meng

Meet Congresswoman Grace Meng, the first female member of Congress from Queens, New York since Vice Presidential nominee Geraldine Ferraro. She's also a member of the Rural Broadband Task Force in the House of Representatives—which you might not expect—because as she notes on the episode, almost 30% of New York City households lack broadband at home. This is a problem for children who need the internet to complete their nightly schoolwork. Listeners will learn about legislation the Congresswoman has proposed to address this problem, known as the Homework Gap, by helping libraries and schools create mobile hotspot lending programs to ensure students can get online at home.

#2422 minutes

Librarian of Congress Dr. Carla Hayden

"Librarians are the original search engines." Those are the words of Dr. Carla Hayden, the Librarian of Congress and the featured guest on this episode of Broadband Conversations. Dr. Hayden is the first woman and the first African American to serve as the Librarian of Congress. Under her historic leadership, she is working to ensure that the 171 million items in the Library's collection—from the diaries of Susan B. Anthony to the Gettysburg Address to the papers of Rosa Parks—are open and accessible to all.

#2326 minutes

Peggy Schaffer, Executive Director of ConnectME

Maine is one of the most rural states in the nation. So when it comes to broadband deployment, there are special challenges to ensuring the digital age reaches all. On this episode of Broadband Conversations, listeners will meet Peggy Schaffer, the woman leading the effort at Maine's Broadband Authority to bring internet connectivity, and the economic opportunities that come with it, to every community in the state.

#2222 minutes

Congresswoman Nydia Velazquez

For any entrepreneur, turning a good idea into a business is hard work. But thankfully, small businesses have Congresswoman Nydia Velazquez fighting for them in Congress. As Chairwoman of the Small Business Committee, Congresswoman Velazquez is working to ensure that those who want to create businesses—including women, have every tool at their disposal. On this episode, the Congresswoman describes her historic path to Washington, her commitment to a level playing field, and her hopes for a democratic and inclusive digital future.

#2118 minutes

Congresswoman Lori Trahan

For over a year, the FCC has been silent about its investigation into the sale of geolocation data from wireless phones, affecting the privacy of anyone with a smartphone. On this episode listeners will hear not only how Congresswoman Lori Trahan and Commissioner Rosenworcel worked together to address this issue, but they will also hear how Rep. Trahan worked her way up from college volleyball player to CEO to Congresswoman.

#2039 minutes

Federal Trade Commissioner Rebecca Slaughter

The Federal Trade Commission has an important mission—protecting consumers and competition. On today's episode, FTC Commissioner Rebecca Kelly Slaughter discusses the ways the FTC carries out its mandate and works on behalf of consumers to protect our privacy and our data. Listeners will also hear her personal story about how as a new mom she employed a BYOB—bring your own baby—policy when she first joined the FTC and why she believes more women and mothers need to be at the table where decisions are being made.

#1927 minutes

Ambassador Grace Koh

In one week, 193 countries from around the globe will gather in Egypt for the World Radio Communications Conference. On this episode of Broadband Conversations, Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel speaks to the woman leading the United States' delegation: Ambassador Grace Koh. She is a dedicated public servant and a spectrum policy expert. She most recently served as Special Assistant to the President for Technology, Telecom and Cyber-Security Policy at the national Economic Council.

#1822 minutes

Girl Scout CEO Sylvia Acevedo

In honor of Hispanic Heritage Month, this episode of Broadband Conversations features Sylvia Acevedo, CEO of Girl Scouts of the USA. She is a longtime advocate for STEM education, engineer, and author of "Path to the Stars: My Journey from Girl Scout to Rocket Scientist." In her conversation with Commissioner Rosenworcel, Sylvia how it was her own Girl Scout troop leader who noticed her early interest in space and encouraged her to earn a science badge by building a model rocket. That experience led Sylvia down a path to eventually becoming a rocket scientist at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Listeners will also hear how under Sylvia's leadership Girl Scouts are encouraged to take on science, technology, math, and engineering projects and pursue badges in areas like cybersecurity. In fact, as a result of her efforts, during the past six months over 84,000 Girls Scouts have earned cybersecurity badges.

To celebrate the one-year anniversary of Broadband Conversations, we flipped the script and had Commissioner Rosenworcel answer some of our big questions. Listeners will get to hear the Commissioner talk about some of her favorite conversations and also hear her share her story, her advice, and what she hopes for the future of digital life.

#1616 minutes

NASA Astronaut Kate Rubins

In 2016, NASA Astronaut Kate Rubins spent 115 days in space—or as she would say, 115 days "off planet." On this episode of Broadband Conversations, listeners will get to hear Rubins, a biologist by training, describe life on the International Space Station and the process of re-entering life back on Earth. As a NASA astronaut, Rubin's shares how she went from a little girl with a dream to be among the stars to the reality of spending nearly 13 hours of spacewalk time.