NTIA Chief Redl Resigning

David Redl, who heads up the Trump Administration's chief telecom policy and government spectrum oversight body,has resigned, a Department of Commerce spokesperson confirmed.

Diane Rinaldo, deputy assistant secretary, will be acting assistant secretary and NTIA Administrator.

Also exiting is Michael Platt, assistant secretary for legislative and intergovernmental affairs. Charles Rathburn will handle his duties.

"I thank Assistant Secretary Redl and Assistant Secretary Platt for their service to President Trump, the Department of Commerce, and the American people," said Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross. "I wish them well."

Redl has been the administrator of the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) in the Department of Commerce and assistant secretary of Commerce for communications and information.

Related: NTIA's Redl Says Days of Easy Spectrum Decisions Are Over

NITA oversees government spectrum holders much as the FCC does for private spectrum holders as well as providing the White House telecom policy advice. It is championing the White House's National Spectrum Plan, for example.

“David Redl is a longtime colleague, who served with distinction during his 18 months at NTIA," said FCC Chairman Ajit Pai in a statement. "He was a vocal advocate within the Department of Commerce for repurposing federal spectrum for commercial use and fostering the private sector’s lead in 5G deployment. I thank David for his service and wish him all the best in his future endeavors.”

Redl is the former chief counsel of the House Energy & Commerce Committee Communications Subcommittee. He was confirmed to the NTIA post in November 2017.

Before joining the committee, Redl was director of regulatory affairs for CTIA-The Wireless Association, where he focused on spectrum policy and wireless broadband.

“We would like to thank David Redl for his service to NTIA and the American people, especially his efforts to engage with all industries in the development of a comprehensive national spectrum strategy," said NCTA-The Internet & Television Association. "Diane Rinaldo brings extensive technology policy experience to her role as Acting Director and we are confident that NTIA, under her leadership, will continue its important mission of ensuring that America remains a 21st century global economic leader." 

Claude Aiken, president, the Wireless Internet Service Providers Association (WISPA), praised Redl's performance.

“David’s work at the Department of Commerce with the NTIA, and elsewhere in government, has had a profound and positive effect on the U.S. communications landscape," he said. "He was passionate about getting affordable broadband deployed to all Americans and advancing U.S. leadership in new technologies. WISPA especially appreciates all that David did with the myriad government stakeholders to help free-up more shared spectrum for commercial use. These important efforts, we hope, will carry forward at the NTIA."

FCC Commissioner Michael O'Rielly thanked Redl for his willingness to serve the Administration. They worked together on the 2012 spectrum act when they were both Hill staffers.

“I commend and thank David Redl for his long career in service to the American people, having had the privilege of working with David both on Capitol Hill and now in our respective roles," said O'Rielly. "While we didn’t always agree, I respect the difficult task he had in managing the unique views of many federal agencies on spectrum policy, and I appreciate his fierce passion and his breadth of knowledge of the issues. I wish him all the best in his next endeavor.”

There has been talk of tension between the FCC and NTIA over the 24 GHz auction and its impact on government spectrum overseen by NTIA, according to one Hill source speaking not for attribution.

Some concerns had been expressed by NASA and others about potential interference with adjacent frequencies used for gathering weather data, with some calling for the FCC to delay the auction--the FCC didn't.

“No one understands the intricacies of spectrum and communications policy better than David Redl," said House Energy & Commerce Committee ranking member Greg Walden (R-Ore.). "At the NTIA he represented the U.S. effectively in the international arena and here at home helped clear the way for better uses of spectrum that drives our economy and American innovation.” 

“As the United States explores ways to better protect privacy, secure its sensitive networks, and deploy its broadband capabilities, NTIA’s work is as critical as ever," said tech advocacy group ITI. "Moreover, its dedicated team of experts is an important partner for the tech industry as we advance these policies. Diane Rinaldo will be a dedicated and effective leader of the agency during this consequential chapter for innovation in the United States. We look forward to working with her.”

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.