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Director at Michigan Public Service Commission Honored with National Broadband Visionary Award

Ancona Screen Cap 1 300x169 Ancona was honored during a surprise ceremony that was also virtual due to COVID-19 quarantines.

Lansing, MI (April 28, 2020) – Connected Nation (CN) honored Robin Ancona, Director, Telecommunications Division, Michigan Public Service Commission (MPSC) today with the 2020 Broadband Visionary Award. This prestigious national award recognizes individuals who demonstrate exceptional and innovative leadership in the application of broadband and related technologies.

“Robin has worked tirelessly to find innovative solutions for connecting more families and businesses across Michigan to high-speed internet (broadband),” said Eric Frederick, Executive Director, Connected Nation Michigan (CN Michigan). “Our nonprofit has worked with her since 2009. In that time, I’ve seen her use her role at the Commission to advocate for all Michiganders by implementing the State Broadband Initiative program, advising the 21st Century Infrastructure Council and the Michigan Consortium of Advanced Networks, contributing significantly to the 2018 Michigan Broadband Roadmap and the Connecting Michigan Communities grant program, among many other accomplishments.”

She was honored during a surprise virtual ceremony (see attached photos) that included remarks from Lieutenant Governor Garlin Gilchrist and was attended by CN staff members. Ancona has spent her 40-year career dedicated to public service. She first began working for MPSC in 1979 as an auditor, and later transitioned to the Technical Services Division, where she worked on the the yearlong audit of the break-up of AT&T, and then the Communications Division, where her work was focused on federal and state issues.

Ancona then moved to the Telecommunications Division where she was assigned to projects related to the implementation of the Federal Telecommunications Act of 1996, including serving on several arbitration panels for the Commission. She was later promoted to manager of the newly created Broadband Section in 2002 and then served as manager of the Rates and Financial Analysis Section and the Licensing and Competitive Issues Sections along the way. She served as advisor to Commissioner Dave Svanda on Telecommunications matters.

In January 2008, Ancona became Director of the Telecommunications Division – a position that she has held for the last 12 years.

“Our organization has had the pleasure of knowing and working with Robin for more than a decade,” said Tom Ferree, Chairman & CEO, Connected Nation. “In that time, we have been inspired by her leadership and influence in matters of broadband policy, at all levels of government: federal, state and local. She is the consummate public servant and is driven by a keen understanding that behind all her work is a person, a community or a business whose life will be better because of her effort to make technology more accessible. Connected Nation is a stronger organization and Michigan is a better-connected state because of her tireless efforts.”

Past honorees of the Broadband Visionary Award include former Iowa Governor and current U.S. Ambassador to China Terry Branstad, who received the award in 2017, and Colonel M. Blaine Hedges, USA (Retired), who was honored last year. The governor worked to expand broadband accessibility and was among the first in the nation to establish a state broadband communications network. Col. Hedges recognized how high-speed internet could help address chronic employment challenges facing military spouses and veterans and championed the expansion of Digital Works training for the military community in Kentucky.

Click here to see Ancona’s full biography.


Jessica Denson, Communications Director
(502) 341-2024

About Connected Nation: Our mission is to improve lives by providing innovative solutions that expand access to and increase the adoption and use of broadband (high-speed internet) and its related technologies for all people. Everyone belongs in a Connected Nation. Connected Nation  Michigan is a local division of the national nonprofit.

Connected Nation works with consumers, local community leaders, states, technology providers, and foundations to develop and implement technology expansion programs with core competencies centered on a mission to improve digital inclusion for people and places previously underserved or overlooked. For more information, please visit: and follow Connected Nation on Facebook and Twitter.