Gigi Sohn

Just weeks after giving up her bid to be an FCC commissioner, Gigi Sohn said today that she will head up the American Association for Public Broadband. Sohn told reporters at the Broadband Communities conference and via teleconference that she is eager to be back in the spotlight.

“It was like being in a washing machine full of rocks for 16 months,” said Sohn of the period when her nomination awaited approval. “As a person who’s always been a public advocate, it was extremely frustrating to be muzzled, to not be able to talk about the important issues and to not be able to defend myself.”

At the time she withdrew her nomination, Sohn said that the “unrelenting, dishonest and cruel attacks” on her character and career had “taken an enormous toll on me and my family.”  

Today she said that “as a person who never met a camera they didn’t like or a microphone they didn’t want to speak into,” she is looking forward to lifting her voice to shine a light on public networks.

American Association of Public Broadband

AAPB was established last year to advocate for municipal broadband networks. At the time, the organization reportedly said that a key priority would be to fight against laws in some states that restrict municipal networks.

“This is about freedom for communities and their leaders to choose what kind of broadband their residents should have,” Sohn said at the conference today. “It’s not about government-owned this-and-that or whether they can do well or not do well. There is plenty of proof that public broadband networks thrive, they serve everyone, that they’re affordable, they’re robust. This is really about ‘Do they have the choice?’”

She said she wants to make a positive case for these networks and why they should be unimpeded by legal, political or economic barriers.  

“I don’t think private broadband should be the only game in town but it should be a level playing field and I hope to set that level playing field,” Sohn said.

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