Tachana Joseph (MPP '17) is submitting this field report from her summer 2016 internship at Verizon in Washington, DC, where she works as a federal regulatory intern.
This summer, I was blessed with the opportunity to work for Verizon as a federal regulatory intern at its public policy and legal department in Washington, DC. Before this summer, my exposure to the telecom industry was limited, and my understanding of the federal regulations that govern this particular ecosystem was even more limited. Like most, I just enjoyed the reliability of fast internet, uninterrupted calls, and instant text messages; however, all of this was forced to change as I started to learn about the innovative space Verizon occupies in the Telecom industry.
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As one of the largest communication technology companies in the world, Verizon deals with way more than traditional phone services; it is also involved in wireless, wireline, cable (FIOS) services, digital advertising, and internet of things (smart garbage cans and vending machines, etc.). Consequently, the most integral part of my work centered on the notices of proposed rulemaking issued by the Federal Communications Commission. Specifically, I was assigned to three ongoing dockets, Privacy of Consumers of Broadband, Business Data and Services, and Back-Up Battery.
To elaborate more on the aforementioned dockets, privacy is probably the most significant ongoing policy issue given the FCC’s proposed rule to regulate how and when internet service providers may or may not collect their consumers’ information. In other words, the Federal Communications Commission wants to promote transparency, consumer choice, and security. For instance, it wants to ensure that consumers are totally aware that their information can be accessed and collected by internet service providers upon subscribing to certain services, accessing websites or locations, and participating in other web related activities. I had the opportunity to accompany my boss to several of the meetings with the FCC and other cable trade organizations, and I attended the congressional hearing on privacy. Besides the external interactions, I conduct a lot of research for my team by monitoring and analyzing what other major companies like AT&T and Sprint are doing.
The relevance of my assignments has allowed me to thoroughly enjoy my internship, and my boss has been extremely helpful and inclusive. The biggest take away from my internship was the satisfaction that came from stepping outside my comfort zone. The telecom industry is a massive world; it has its own jargons and acronyms, and the issues are continually changing. Because of this summer, I am now aware of all the interplaying factors that are behind the scene in our daily digital connectivity.
Tachana Joseph (MPP '17) , graduated from the University of Florida with degrees in political science and criminology; a double minor in Latin American studies and interdisciplinary arts; and a certificate in public affairs. She is interested in understanding the intersection between politics and public policy in the U.S. and around the world.