NTIA Administrator to Launch Two Private-Sector Ventures
Larry Irving, outgoing administrator of the Department of Commerce's National Telecommunications and Information Agency (NTIA), announced yesterday his intentions to launch an Internet start-up company, in addition to his own consulting firm.
Irving would not give any details about the Internet venture but said his consulting practice will focus on international telecommunications, electronic commerce and minority issues, but will not represent Beltway political clients.
"The only thing worse than a bad start-up idea is a good one that talks [too soon]," Irving said, retelling advice he was given on the subject. "The consulting firm will not be doing Washington representation. I will be doing international telecommunications, e-commerce and digital divide consulting."
Appointed by President Clinton in 1993, Irving weighed in on a number of issues during his tenure at the NTIA, including the now famous "digital divide" report, which brought national attention to the need to ensure that people across the economic spectrum have access to information technology resources. "The 'digital divide' is on everyone's lips," he said. "We made the American people aware of these kinds of problems."
He also played a major role in developing the Telecommunications Act of 1996, a landmark legislation that paved the way for increased competition in the local and long-distance markets.
Irving said one of his only regrets came in the 1996 act that deregulated the radio industry. "I think that we went too far, " he said. "We need more local voices, diverse voices...but local radio is a thing of the past" because people cannot get into radio anymore without large financial resources and a national scope, he said.
Replacing Irving will be Gregory Rhode, senior legislative assistant to Sen. Byron Dorgan (D-N.D.), pending the official Congressional approval of his appointment, which could come as early as today.
Irving also announced that he will serve on the boards of certain companies but would not comment any further. He did pledge to help Vice President Gore with his presidential campaign by talking to telecommunications and minority communities, but said he would be doing that for love, not money.
Irving's consulting firm will have an office in the district, and he can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org beginning October 5.