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CIS/SLATA Speaker Series: Phoebe Yang and Blair Levin of the National Broadband Taskforce


April 27, 2010 4:00pm - 5:15pm

Room 280B

Broadband is the great infrastructure challenge of the early 21st century. Like electricity a century ago, broadband is a foundation for economic growth, job creation, global competitiveness and a better way of life. It is enabling entire new industries and unlocking vast new possibilities for existing ones. Fueled by private sector investment and innovation, the American broadband system has evolved rapidly to reaching nearly 200 million homes last year. At the same time, nearly 100 million Americans do not have broadband, and major opportunities in broadband-enabled information technology in health, education, energy and public safety remain untapped.

To this end in early 2009, Congress directed the Federal Communications Commission to develop a National Broadband Plan to ensure every American has "access to broadband capability" and a detailed strategy for achieving affordability and maximizing use of broadband to advance a host of national purposes, such as health, education, public safety, energy efficiency, entrepreneural activity, and private sector investment. On March 16, 2010, the FCC submitted the 360-page plan, Connecting America: The National Broadband Plan, to Congress and the President. It calls for, among other things, a extensive new initiatives to reclaim spectrum for mobile broadband use and significant reform of the Universal Service Fund, which made voice telephony ubiquitous, to apply to broadband.

Phoebe Yang and Blair Levin will provide an executive overview of the Plan and the next steps of implementation. The Plan can be accessed at

Ms. Yang is General Counsel of the National Broadband Task Force, based at the Federal Communications Commission, where she serves as part of the core leadership overseeing the creation of Connecting America: The National Broadband Plan. Ms. Yang’s prior experience includes executive roles at Discovery Communications, as Vice President of Corporate Strategy and Development, Vice President of Digital Media Operations and Strategy, and Director of International Business Development; and at AOL Time Warner as Vice President of International Strategy and Policy focused on China. She served under President Bill Clinton as Special Coordinator for China Rule of Law. Earlier in her career, Ms. Yang practiced corporate and commercial law at Hogan & Hartson, LLP and was a law clerk to federal judge, The Honorable William Schwarzer (N.D., California).

Ms. Yang is a life member of the Council on Foreign Relations and has been a Fellow to Salzburg Seminar, Remarque Institute, and C. S. Lewis Institute; a French-American Foundation Young Leader; and an advisor to the Brookings China Center and Duke Election Law Reform Project. As a Rotary Scholar at the National University of Singapore, she earned certification in Mandarin Chinese. She has served in leadership roles for two Presidential campaigns.

Ms. Yang graduated Phi Beta Kappa with a B.A. in government and foreign affairs from the University of Virginia. She received her J.D. from Stanford Law School, where she was President and Editor-in-Chief of the Stanford Law Review.