Digital equity focus, successful work with rural and underserved communities, position new director to continue advancing state’s ambitious goal of broadband access for all by 2024.
OLYMPIA, WA — Gov. Jay Inslee has appointed Mark Vasconi to serve as director of the Washington State Broadband Office within the Department of Commerce. Vasconi comes to the job with significant public and private sector experience in telecommunications. During more than a decade with AT&T in Alaska, he held senior executive posts in product development and government affairs including extensive work with Native Alaskan organizations to bring broadband services to numerous remote villages.
“Mark shares Commerce’s passion and dedication to strengthening communities,” said Commerce Director Lisa Brown. “His insights and success working with remote Native Alaskan communities will be a tremendous value as the State Broadband Office continues work to make universal high-speed internet access and digital equity a reality in every corner of Washington state.”
“I sincerely look forward to leading the State Broadband Office and its great team of dedicated professionals who have already made great strides in providing quality broadband service to all residents of the state of Washington,” Vasconi said. “Providing ubiquitous broadband access has been a critical goal of policy makers across the country for over 20 years, and I’m beyond excited to extend this effort for the benefit of all. The need for high-speed internet access has been well understood for many years although the impact of the pandemic clearly heightened this need, particularly in rural Washington and its many Tribal communities. I am honored to be part of the team that will finally accomplish this long sought-after goal.”
In addition to his extensive telecommunications industry experience with US West, Pacific Northwest Bell and AT&T, Vasconi has served since 2010 as Director of Regulatory Services at the Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission (UTC). He holds a bachelor’s and master’s degree in economics from the University of Montana where he specialized in regulatory economics and anti-trust analysis.
Vasconi takes the helm at the State Broadband Office on April 1. Working in collaboration with Washington’s Public Works Board and Community Economic Revitalization Board (CERB), the broadband office recently was awarded $30 million from the U.S. Department of Commerce’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) for last-mile fiber and wireless projects aimed at overcoming barriers to broadband access and connectivity in five rural Washington counties (Ferry, Jefferson, Kittitas, Okanogan and Stevens). In addition, the 2022 state supplemental budget provides over $100 million in operating, capital and federal broadband funding.
To learn more about current funding opportunities and the work of Washington State Broadband Office, including Digital Equity Forums, community-based Digital Navigator programs, and emergency broadband benefits, visit www.broadband.wa.gov.
Originally Published March 24th, 2022 – Article Link