Seifert to oversee broadband stimulus funds at NTIA

by John Eggerton, Broadcasting & Cable

Mark Seifert, formerly with the FCC, has been tapped to head up the policy side of the NTIA's allocation of broadband stimulus grant and loan money. Bernadette McGuire-Rivera will be handling administrative duties.

McGuire-Rivera has a lot on her plate already given that she also has been the NTIA point person on the DTV-to-analog converter box coupon program. She will reportedly be staffing up NTIA's Office of Telecommunications and Information Applications, which she heads up as associate administrator, to help with the workload.

Seifert, who dealt with universal service issues as a Common Carrier Bureau deputy chief and is also a former House Energy & Commerce Committee staffer, was brought in after acting NTIA head Anna Gomex recused herself from the grant administration process, said the sources. Gomez is formerly a Washington government affairs executive with Sprint-Nextel in Washington, which could make a bid for some of the broadband money.

The White House has yet to nominate a permanent head of NTIA, but sources say Larry Strickland, Obama policy advisor and former FCC Common Carrier Bureau Chief, tops the list of candidates.

It is unclear whether Seifert would remain if Strickland is nominated and confirmed.

Representatives of the NTIA, the FCC and the Ag Department's Rural Utilities Service are meeting next week to talk about how to hand out $7 billion-plus set aside in the Obama administration's economic stimulus package to provide Internet to un-served and underserved areas. Seifert and McGuire-Rivera are both slated to weigh in at the public meeting, with Seifert billed on the agenda as a senior advisor.

Among the issues they ultimately have to hammer out is defining who qualifies as "underserved" and how to implement Congress' requirements for open access and nondiscriminatory interconnection.

article originally published at http://www.broadcastingcable.com/article/189552-Seifert_To_Head_NTIA_s_Broadband....

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