Acting FCC chairman Michael Copps has brought in Blair Levin, former FCC chief of staff under Democratic chairman Reed Hundt, to coordinate the development of a national broadband plan.
Levin has been managing director at reserach firm Stiffel Nicolaus. He joined its research team in 2005, with its acquisition of Legg Mason, where he had been chief telecom, media and tech analyst.
Copps has said it is probably the most important undertaking in the commission's history, given the implications of broadband adoption for everything from health and education, to energy and job creation.
The announcement of Levin's hiring as a broadband point person came among a number of staff changes Copps announced as he prepares to hand over the reins to his presumed successor, Julius Genachowski.
Levin will be a familiar face. Genachowski was a Hundt staffer as well, and both helped the Obama transition team.
"The chairman has said that setting up a process for completing the national broadband plan is a huge charge and it needs someone who knows the issues, the stakeholders and the commission," said an FCC spokesman. "Blair has a unique combination of these talents. Just like the DTV transition, the chairman thought it was important to bring someone in to help coordinate the effort and recommend a process for completing the plan."
The announcement comes in advance of the FCC's Monday deadline for comment on its national broadband plan, which the President's stimulus package requires it to produce by next February.
Other staff changes announced Friday included the move of Media Bureau Chief Monica Desai to special advisor to the general counsel. Robert Radcliffe will serve as acting chief, essentially making official what has been the case for a while. Desai was the chief under Republican former chairman Kevin Martin
In addition, David Hunt, assistant, IG, for investigations, will become acting inspector general with the retirement of Kent Nilsson after 30 years at the FCC.
Mary Beth Richards, deputy general counsel, has also been named acting managing director.