John Kneuer, of the National Telecommunications and Information Administration, told the Senate Commerce Committee Tuesday that draft rules on DTV converter-box subsidies should be issued "shortly."
NTIA is charged with administering an up to $1.5 billion program to distribute digital-to-analog converter boxes to viewers to ensure that nobody's analog TV is converted into a huge paperweight with the 2009 digital transition.
The venue was a committee hearing on spectrum policy in Washington.
In response to a question from one senator about whether NTIA was considering levying user fees on broadcasters, Kneuer said that NTIA had a task force working on various incentives for more-efficient spectrum use, including spectrum fees that would recognize the value of that spectrum.
He also pointed out that the Bush administration budget also currently empowers the FCC to collect user fees from non-auction services, including broadcasters.