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New Face at NTIA to Oversee DTV Switch

Kim Hart

We've written a lot about the National Telecommunications and Information Administration lately. It's the arm of the Commerce Department that is in charge of running the program to distribute coupons for digital television converter boxes so TV watchers can prepare for broadcasters' transition to digital TV. The program ran into trouble last month when it hit its funding limit and it can no longer send coupons to consumers until others expire. More than 3.3 million consumers are now on that waiting list.

But as of today, there's new leadership at the NTIA. Anna Gomez has been appointed to be the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Communications and Information for the agency. One of her top duties will be to help the nation's transition to digital TV go smoothly.

That will be quite a task. The NTIA has been criticized by Democratic lawmakers for mismanaging the coupon program. Gomez will be charged with making sure consumers get coupons and the information they need to switch to digital programming.

Most recently, Gomez served as vice president for state, regulatory and government affairs at Sprint Nextel. She lobbied on behalf of Sprint Nextel in front of the Federal Communications Commission and other state and federal lawmakers. One major issue she worked on was making sure Sprint Nextel had access to the high-capacity lines owned by larger competitors in order to provide wireless and traditional phone service.

Before that, Gomez worked for several years at the FCC in various management positions in the Common Carrier Bureau and the International Bureau, where she assisted in developing policy on international telecommunications and satellite airwaves. She also served as a senior legal adviser to former FCC Chairman William Kennard. Kennard was appointed by former President Clinton, and is an adviser to Obama's transition team.

Prior to her work at the FCC, Gomez was deputy chief of staff in the National Economic Council during the Clinton administration specializing in the development of U.S. telecommunications policy and issues related to Hispanic education. She was also staff counsel in the Senate Commerce Committee's subcommittee on communication.

By Kim Hart  |  February 3, 2009; 5:15 PM ET  | Category:  Kim Hart
Previous: Yet Another Wrinkle in the DTV Saga | Next: House Poised to Vote on DTV Delay Bill

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