Kneuer Nominated To Head NTIA

The White House plans to nominate John Kneuer to head the National Telecommunications & Information Administration as assistant secretary of commerce for communications and information.

Kenuer, who had been deputy assistant secretary for communications and information at Commerce, has become a familiar face in the industry.

In March he testified before a Senate hearing on spectrum policy, then traveled to the National Cable Show in April to talk about the digital transition.

The profile of NTIA, which is the administration's communications policy advisor, is about to be raised as well.

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.

At the National Show, Kneuer warned that both government and the TV industry are far from being able to ensure a smooth transition when broadcasters turn off their analog signals and return the spectrum to the government for other uses.

Analog TV sets will require some sort of adapter or set-top to receive the new digital signals. "We are at the beginning," Kneuer said, "and we're going to need lots and lots help to get that done."

He also said in March that NTIA was working on draft rules on the DTV converter-box subsidy program.--John Higgins contributed to this report.

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.