Top U.S. telecommunications, spectrum adviser stepping down: agency

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The acting head of the National Telecommunications and Information Administration, the principal adviser to the White House on telecommunications and spectrum policy issues, is stepping down, the agency confirmed on Monday.

Diane Rinaldo, who has led the agency on an acting basis since May, when the prior head resigned, said in an e-mail to staff seen by Reuters that she was ending her time at the agency, which manages the federal use of spectrum and identifies spectrum for commercial use, develops policy on issues related to the Internet, including privacy, copyright protection and cybersecurity.

Rinaldo did not respond to a request for comment on why she is leaving.

U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, who oversees the agency, said in a statement: “Diane has led NTIA to multiple successes on 5G, supply chain security, broadband and public safety communications.”

Before assuming the top job after David Redl resigned, Rinaldo had served as deputy assistant secretary for communications and information since April 2018. The White House has not yet nominated a permanent replacement for Redl.

In August, NTIA asked federal agencies to review their current spectrum assignments and usage as part of the administration’s efforts to determine if additional spectrum bands could be freed up for use by the private sector.

In 2018, President Donald Trump directed the development of a long-term comprehensive national spectrum strategy to prepare for the introduction of next-generation 5G wireless networks.

Rinaldo’s email cited a number of issues the agency has worked on, including “The American Broadband Initiative, the Minority Broadband Initiative, federal spectrum regulator, SBOM, privacy, 5G, supply chain integrity, FirstNet, public safety and 911, the Internet work and all of the international conferences, tech trade policy, the digital of everything.”

Reporting by David Shepardson, Editing by Franklin Paul and Dan Grebler