The debut of the 111th Congress was marked with a key change in leadership at the House Telecommunications Subcommittee, as Representative Rick Boucher (D-VA) was appointed as chairman of the subcommittee that will be known henceforward as the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Communications, Technology, and the Internet. Boucher is exchanging his former position as chairman of the House Energy and Environment subcommittee with outgoing House Telecom Subcommittee Chairman Ed Markey (D-MA), who will assume Boucher’s post. Boucher, who represents a rural district in southwestern Virginia, is viewed as a staunch advocate of rural telecommunications causes. He is also expected to place special emphasis on reform of the universal service fund and on broadband issues as well as on efforts to ensure the success of the digital television transition. As Boucher said his new position “gives me the opportunity to further my work to shape telecommunications policy,” telecom industry representatives applauded his appointment. Citing Boucher’s efforts “to increase the deployment of broadband,” CompTel President Matthew Salmon praised Boucher as “a longstanding advocate for policies that promote competition and innovation.” As Sprint Nextel proclaimed that Boucher “understands the important role that telecommunications companies can play in creating jobs and building a broadband economy,” a Verizon spokesman described Boucher as “well prepared to chair this important subcommittee.” Markey, who will remain as a senior member of Boucher’s subcommittee, promised to work with Boucher “to ensure a smooth transition on DTV issues at this critical time.”