The U.S. Department of Commerce’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) has established two new offices designed to help expand internet connectivity, particularly in minority communities.
The Office of Internet Connectivity and Growth (OICG) was established under the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021, which included the Access Broadband Act. The office will be headed by Douglas Kinkoph, who has been the head of NTIA’s broadband program since 2015. The office will house all NTIA broadband activities.
Among those activities are the Broadband Infrastructure Program, the Tribal Broadband Connectivity Program and the Connecting Minority Communities Pilot Program as well as BroadbandUSA. Broadband USA provides community outreach, support for state leaders and technical assistance, as well as helping to coordinate federal broadband resources and programs.
The Office of Minority Broadband Initiatives (OMBI) expands NTIA’s work on its Minority Broadband Initiative. Recent activity includes a pilot program for expanding connections in minority communities.
The office, which will be within the OICG, fulfills requirements of the Connecting Minority Communities provisions that were part of the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021. OMBI is designed to continue NTIA’s efforts to collaborate with federal agencies; state, local and tribal governments; Historically Black Colleges and Universities, Tribal Colleges and Universities and Minority-Serving Institutions.
“NTIA is proud to establish these two new offices that reflect how broadband expansion and advancing equity in America are critical to our core mission,” said Evelyn Remaley, acting NTIA administrator, in a prepared statement.
“With this new organizational structure, we are prepared to make significant progress in closing the digital divide through our broadband programs.”