Current democratic FCC commissioner Jonathan Adelstein will be nominated by the Obama administration to run the Agriculture Department’s Rural Utilities Service (RUS). RUS provides a variety of funding programs for utility services in rural America, including telecom and broadband. RUS will play a key role in the ongoing rural broadband stimulus program with $2.5 billion in designated funds to administer.
Adelstein has long been seen as an advocate for rural telecommunications. A native of South Dakota, Adelstein was a member of then Senate minority leader Tom Daschle’s staff, when he was appointed to the FCC in 2002 by President Bush. If appointed, Adelstein will certainly be under the spotlight. RUS has seen its fair share of criticism concerning its administration of broadband loan programs. With its participation in the current stimulus program and its $2.5 billion in money to distribute, the spotlight will certainly intensify.