Today, the U.S. Department of Commerce’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) announced the establishment of the Office of Internet Connectivity and Growth (OICG) and the Office of Minority Broadband Initiatives (OMBI).
The establishment of the Office of Internet Connectivity and Growth fulfills requirements of the ACCESS BROADBAND Act, enacted into law as part of the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021. The OICG will be led by Douglas Kinkoph, who has served as the head of NTIA’s broadband program since 2015. The OICG will house all broadband activities at NTIA, including three active broadband grant programs: the Broadband Infrastructure Program, the Tribal Broadband Connectivity Program and the Connecting Minority Communities Pilot Program. The office will also house BroadbandUSA, which provides community outreach, support for state leaders, technical assistance, and helps coordinate federal broadband resources and programs.
The establishment of the Office of Minority Broadband Initiatives codifies NTIA’s work on its Minority Broadband Initiative since 2018. The OMBI, established within the OICG, fulfills requirements of the Connecting Minority Communities provisions enacted into law as part of the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021. The office will 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; and any interested stakeholders to promote initiatives related to expanding connectivity and digital opportunities for anchor communities.
“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 and the Biden Administration’s agenda,” said Acting NTIA Administrator Evelyn Remaley. “With this new organizational structure, we are prepared to make significant progress in closing the digital divide through our broadband programs, bringing us closer to President Biden’s goal of connecting all Americans to reliable, affordable high-speed Internet.”
The changes to NTIA’s organizational structure were adopted on August 13, 2021, in a new Department Organization Order (DOO), which replaced a previous DOO dated September 2012.