Chair for FCC's Broadband Deployment Advisory Committee arrested for fraud

Chair for FCC's Broadband Deployment Advisory Committee arrested for fraud

Elizabeth Ann Pierce, former CEO of Quintillion Networks, was appointed by Pai last April to chair the committee, but her tenure only lasted until September. She allegedly convinced two investment companies that the firm had secured contracts for a high-speed fibre system set to generate hundreds of millions of dollars in future revenue, the Manhattan US attorney's office and Federal Bureau of Investigation said. The sales agreements, worth a total of around United States dollars 1 billion, were, however, worthless, with Pierce allegedly forging counterparty signatures, the attorney's office said.

Pierce forged signatures on contracts to make it appear as though she had secured sales agreements for the new systems.

Pierce has been charged with wire fraud.

In her time at Quintillion, Pierce was a vocal advocate for bringing internet access to many remote regions of Alaska. The goal of the BDAC was to improve high-speed internet coverage and reduce regulations required for making infrastructure improvements. The company named George Tronsrue its interim CEO in August after Pierce resigned.

For its part, Quintillion says that it "became aware of the situation" past year and "took swift action and self-reported to the Department of Justice", adding that it "has been cooperating fully with the authorities during this ongoing investigation". At this time, Quintillion does not believe the investigation will affect any services or their plans to expand coverage in Alaska.