Lawrence Strickling, assistant secretary for communications and information and administrator, NTIA
What makes him powerful: Strickling's biography says it all: "Strickling serves as administrator of the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), the executive branch agency that is principally responsible for advising the President on communications and information policies, managing the federal use of electromagnetic spectrum, performing cutting-edge telecommunications research and engineering, formulating and advocating for U.S. positions on international communications and information technology policy matters, and administering infrastructure and public telecommunications facilities grants."
Further, Strickling is essentially in charge of doling out $4.7 billion in broadband stimulus funding--an amount comparable to the capital expenses of a Tier 1 telecom carrier. For those companies hoping for government aid in their network buildouts, Strickling will remain a key player through the stimulus process.
But wait! That's not all. In his position at NTIA Strickling will also no doubt have a hand in discussions about spectrum allocations. This is especially notable in light of FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski's promise to free up new spectrum for bandwidth-hungry wireless carriers. "We will need a lot more spectrum," Genachowski said. "Spectrum is the oxygen for mobile broadband networks." Thus, as part of Strickling's "managing the federal use of electromagnetic spectrum" duties, that likely will involve working with the FCC to identify spectrum suitable for wireless. --Mike