New NTIA Director Focused on 'Digital Divide'

Gregory Rohde, recently sworn in as Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Communications and Information and NTIA administrator, said Commerce will be making major announcements on Dec. 9 at the Digital Divide Summit, including both department initiatives and partnerships with the private sector.

"There's tremendous growth and tremendous opportunity...and on a daily basis, new technologies are being announced," Rohde said on Thursday. "We need to continue to foster that through competitive policy...and make sure the [underserved] segments keep up with that opportunity and growth."

As part of his new role, Rohde said, he also is interested in spurring innovation in technology. The NTIA must continue "to stimulate and engage new technologies, especially wireless technologies" as part of its management responsibilities of the federal spectrum, he said.

He also said the agency will continue its non-regulatory role in consumer protection on privacy issues, but will serve as an advocate and keep consumers informed of "how well the industry is doing in adopting privacy policies."

Rohde previously served as a senior aide to Sen. Byron Dorgan (D-ND), where he worked on both the Telecommunications Act of 1996 and the Internet Tax Freedom Act of 1998.

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