The Biden Administration has yet to name a head of the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), an agency housed in the Department of Commerce that oversees telecommunications, broadband, and information policy.
The NTIA will have an outsized role in ensuring equitable access to broadband during the recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, which makes the reports that Biden is considering former telecommunications lobbyist Scott Blake Harris to head the agency deeply alarming. Harris, who repeatedly praised Trump’s FCC nominee and net neutrality opponent Ajit Pai, previously worked in the executive branch from 1993-1996 in the Department of Commerce and the FCC. After leaving government, he immediately joined a corporate law firm, and within a few years, he was lobbying the agencies he previously worked at on behalf of telecommunications companies like AT&T and Sprint and Big Tech companies like Apple and Microsoft. His law firm, Harris, Wiltshire & Grannis, defended telecommunications companies running exploitative monopolies and charging exorbitant phone rates for people who were incarcerated.
For more on Harris’ record, check out RDP’s research here.