The White House has named Anna Gomez deputy assistant secretary for communications and information.
As such she is acting head of NTIA, replacing Meredith Attwell Baker. Karl Nebbia, associate administrator of the Office of Spectrum Management, had been filling in between Baker's departure Jan. 20 and the naming of a new acting head.
As acting head of NTIA, one of Gomez' key priorities will be to help with the DTV transition. NTIA is currently overseeing the DTV-to-analog converter box coupon program, which has run into an accounting problem that has slowed the distribution of those coupons to a trickle.
The converter's allow analog-only TV sets to continue to recieve a TV signal after the transition to digital.
"With significant challenges ahead of us as the country prepares to make the switch to digital TV, it's essential that we have leadership at NTIA that puts the American consumers first," said NTIA Associate Administrator Bernadette McGuire-Rivera," who has been tasked with riding heard on the coupon box program.
Gomez was previously VP, State and Federal Regulatory, Government Affairs, for Sprint-Nextel on "non-spectrum issues." She was not a registered lobbyist, said an NTIA source. Before Sprint-Nextel, she worked at the FCC in various posts, including the Common Carrier Bureau, Network Services Division, and the International Bureau. She was also a legal adviser to former chairman William Kennard, who has been a telecom policy advisor to Obama.
There has been no non-acting head of NTIA since John Kneuer exited the post in fall 2007. Although the White House nominated aide to then VP Dick Cheney Neil Patel last March, he was never confirmed.
NTIA is part of the Commerce Department, which is currently under acting secretary Otto Wolf, though President Barack Obama has just tapped New Hampshire Senator Judd Gregg for the job.