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Kneuer Nomination: Not Now

A Senate Commerce Committee source says not to look for a nomination hearing on acting National Telecommunications & Information Administration head John Kneuer until after the August break.

Republicans tried to add Kneuer to a nomination hearing for some other appointments last week, but the Democrats said they hadn't been given enough time to come up with questions.

In early May, the White House signaled its intention to nominate Kneuer to head the NTIA as assistant secretary of commerce for communications and information.

Kneuer, who has been deputy assistant secretary for communications and information at Commerce and acting head of the agency, has become a familiar face in the industry.

He testified before a Senate hearing on spectrum policy, traveled to the National Cable Show in April to talk about the digital transition, then spoke to a Media Institute lunch crowd in Washington in June.

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.

NTIA released its proposal for that subsidy last week, then earlier this week signaled it might outsource the administration of the subsidy by asking for information from companies with the necessary bandwidth to do it.