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Commerce Promotes Digital Economy at State of the Net

January 28, 2014

(The following originally appeared on

Over the past 20 years, the Internet has radically transformed the way Americans work and play.  And it continues to be a key driver of innovation, job creation and overall economic expansion.

At the Commerce Department, we understand the importance of the Internet to America’s digital economy and the continued growth of the global economy. That’s why preserving a vibrant, open and free-flowing Internet is a core mission of our agency.

Today, Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker addressed the 10th annual State of the Net conference, where she shared the Department’s commitment to promoting policies that support America’s digital economy. And she pledged to act as the champion of good Internet policy that supports entrepreneurs, businesses, and their workers.

At the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), we’re working to fulfill that pledge by continuing to work –  both domestically and internationally – to champion the multistakeholder model for developing Internet policies. As I outlined in my remarks at State of the Net today, the Internet is a diverse, multi-layered system that thrives only through the cooperation of many different parties.  Solving policy issues in this space requires engaging these different parties – businesses, policymakers, civil society leaders, and others.  They are all partners in the process, each with the ability to participate and have a voice in the outcome.

This past year, NTIA convened more than 300 stakeholders through a multistakeholder process to discuss privacy disclosures for mobile applications.  Through this process, the stakeholders developed a voluntary code of conduct to provide greater transparency about the information mobile apps collect from users.

We are building on that work, beginning a new effort next week on the issue of commercial facial recognition technology.  We encourage all interested parties to participate.

And we’re continuing our work internationally to maintain a policy environment that embraces the multistakeholder model, ensuring that the Internet remains an open, dynamic platform for innovation, job creation, and economic growth.

NTIA is also championing the digital economy through our work to promote broadband and make additional spectrum available for commercial use.

Through our broadband grant program, NTIA is helping lay broadband in communities in every corner of the country. This program is bringing high-speed Internet where it simply didn’t exist before, helping to create opportunities for the Internet entrepreneurs of tomorrow. 

We are also continuing to work hard to fulfill the President’s goal of making 500 megahertz of spectrum available for commercial use this decade. So far we’ve identified for reallocation up to 405 megahertz of federal spectrum, and this year we’ll continue our work with federal government agencies and industry to find new opportunities for sharing this valuable resource.

We are also working in strong collaboration with our sister bureaus at Commerce – including the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (PTO), National Institute for Science and Technology (NIST), International Trade Administration (ITA), and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) – each day to protect and promote the ideas, infrastructure and platform that helps keep our nation the global hub of innovation and discovery.

Together, we are committed to gathering input from all stakeholders every day as we work to craft policies that benefit our digital economy. In this fast-moving environment, the policy landscape shifts quickly as new technologies and ideas in this space continue to emerge and evolve.

We need constant input from businesses, policymakers, civil society leaders, and others. Please stay in touch.