Glen Howie To Lead Arkansas Broadband Office


Glen Howie To Lead Arkansas Broadband Office
Glen Howie has been named the state’s new director of broadband, effective Aug. 1.   (Arkansas Department of Commerce)

Glen Howie has been named the state’s new director of broadband, effective Aug. 1.

He comes to the Arkansas Commerce Department from Louisiana’s Office of Broadband Development and Connectivity and brings more than 12 years of professional experience, including three years in the broadband space at the state and municipal levels of government, to the role.

Steven Porch, who has led the office’s Arkansas Rural Connect program on a temporary basis since 2020, will remain chief legal counsel for the department.

Gov. Asa Hutchinson said in a news release Monday, “Broadband delivery has always been one of my top priorities. For Arkansas to reach its full economic potential, we need to do everything we can to close the digital divide and ensure that our citizens in rural communities have the same opportunities as their counterparts in larger cities. 

“I believe Howie is the perfect choice to lead our efforts into the next phase of growth and implementation.”

As broadband director, Howie will advise the governor and Secretary of Commerce Mike Preston on key issues related to the deployment of broadband throughout Arkansas. He will lead the agency’s broadband efforts and oversee a three-year plan to provide broadband access to 110,000 underserved households.

“Like railways two centuries ago and electricity 100 years ago, broadband internet access today has become a critical piece of infrastructure, igniting economic growth, improving health outcomes, enhancing agricultural output, and advancing the educational experience of our children,” Howie said in the release, noting that he’s looking forward to working to eliminate the digital divide in Arkansas by 2028. 

Preston said in the release that Howie has been “one the frontline in one of the most highly regarded broadband offices in the country.”

As senior policy analyst for the Louisiana Office of Broadband Development and Connectivity, Howie worked under Executive Director Veneeth Iyengar to form and implement that state’s broadband policy on access, affordability, digital literacy and inclusion, as well as thedevelopment of regulatory rules regarding Louisiana’s first $177 million broadband infrastructure grant program.

Louisiana was one of the first four states in the country to have its fund plans approved by the U.S. Treasury Department. That state also ranked first in the country in enrollment in the federal Affordable Connectivity Program, relative to eligible households, and was recognized for its groundbreaking stakeholder engagement efforts by the National Digital Inclusion Alliance.

Hutchinson created the Arkansas Broadband Office in July 2019, and it has awarded more than $386 million in grants through the Arkansas Rural Connect grant program since then.

Howie earned his bachelor’s degree in finance and a master’s degree in public administration from Louisiana State University.