Focus on digital equity, successful work with rural and underserved communities, positions new director to continue advancing state’s ambitious goal of broadband access for everyone by 2024.
OLYMPIA, WA – Governor Jay Inslee has appointed Mark Vasconi as Director of the Washington State Broadband Office within the Commerce Department. Vasconi comes to the role with significant experience in the public and private telecommunications sectors. For more than a decade with AT&T in Alaska, he held senior positions in product development and government affairs, including extensive work with Alaska Native organizations to bring broadband services to many remote villages.
“Mark shares Commerce’s passion and dedication to building communities,” said Commerce Director Lisa Brown. “His knowledge and success with remote Alaskan Native communities will be invaluable as the State Broadband Office continues to 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 large team of dedicated professionals who have already made great strides in providing quality broadband service to all residents of Washington State,” Vasconi said. “Providing ubiquitous broadband access has been a critical goal of policymakers across the country for more than 20 years, and I’m more than excited to expand that 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 has clearly increased this need, especially in rural Washington and its many tribal communities. I am honored to be part of the team that will finally achieve this long-sought goal.
In addition to his extensive experience in the telecommunications industry with US West, Pacific Northwest Bell and AT&T, Vasconi has been Director of Regulatory Services at Washington since 2010. Public Utilities and Transportation Commission (UTC). He holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in economics from the University of Montana, where he specialized in regulatory economics and antitrust analysis.
Vasconi takes over as head of the State Broadband Office on April 1. Working in conjunction with Washington’s Public Works Board and the Community Economic Revitalization Board (CERB), the Broadband Office recently received $30 million from the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) for fiber optic and wireless projects mile network to overcome barriers to broadband access and connectivity in five rural Washington counties (Ferry, Jefferson, Kittitas, Okanogan, and Stevens). Additionally, the 2022 State Supplementary Budget provides more than $100 million in federal operating, capital, and broadband funding.
To learn more about current funding opportunities and the work of the Washington State Broadband Office, including digital equity forums, digital browsing community programs, and emergency broadband benefits, visit www.broadband.wa.gov.