Jun 7, 2021 - Technology

Scoop: White House hires broadband expert

Lisa Hone

Lisa Hone/photo courtesy of Lisa Hone

Lisa Hone, a longtime Federal Communications Commission attorney with deep expertise in broadband policy, has joined the National Economic Council team to steer the Biden administration's broadband expansion efforts.

Why it matters: Expanding broadband internet service to all Americans is a top priority for the Biden White House. Hone's primary focus is ensuring that money Congress allocated through the American Rescue Plan Act is spent appropriately.

The big picture: The administration is trying to include broadband in infrastructure legislation, as the pandemic underscored the importance of reliable and affordable broadband connections to Americans' ability to participate in remote school, work, tele-health and e-commerce.

Details: Hone, who officially started her job as as senior adviser for broadband and technology policy last week, is now the White House's point person on broadband deployment efforts happening across the government.

  • She reports to Bharat Ramamurti, the NEC deputy director working on broadband as part of his broader portfolio. She works with Tim Wu and Hannah Garden-Monheit, whose portfolios also include broadband policy.

Background: During her FCC career, Hone led the modernization of the FCC's E-Rate program providing subsidies to connect K-12 schools and libraries to high-speed internet.

  • Now, 99% of K-12 schools and libraries have access to high-speed, fiber-based broadband.
  • That experience that will inform her efforts at the White House, which is also taking an approach that emphasizes fiber over other internet technologies.

At the FCC, Hone held many leadership roles in the bureau responsible for wireline broadband, and was a legal adviser to Chairman Tom Wheeler during the Obama administration.

  • She also spent time on staff at the Senate Commerce Committee. From 2004-2010, she was Assistant Director of the FTC's Division of Marketing Practices.

What they're saying: Hone is well-known on both sides of the aisle and by the broadband industry.

  • Wheeler, now a Brookings Institution visiting fellow, said Hone is a "detail-oriented person who is also a visionary and a leader."
  • "Lisa will be a tremendous asset to the White House on broadband policy," said Patrick Halley, general counsel and SVP of policy and advocacy for U.S. Telecom, the trade group representing broadband providers including Verizon and AT&T. "She knows the substance and the process as well as anyone and is well respected by all."
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