Neil Patel, the assistant secretary for domestic and economic policy to Vice President Dick Cheney, has been nominated by President Bush to serve as the head of the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), which, with the FCC, has been designated as one of the lead agencies to oversee the digital television transition. NTIA is responsible for coordinating the digital-to-analog converter box program through which members of the public may request $40 coupons to be used toward the purchase of set-top boxes that will enable users to view over-the-air DTV programs on analog sets. Patel, who has also served as staff secretary to Vice President Cheney and as a former general counsel at UUNET Technologies, would replace acting NTIA Chief Meredith Baker, who announced her departure last week. Welcoming the nomination, FCC Chairman Kevin Martin proclaimed that Patel’s “extensive experience with technology and communications issues will immediately help advance NTIA’s goals and ultimately benefit consumers across multimedia platforms.” FCC Commissioner Robert McDowell also applauded the nomination as he praised Patel as an “energetic and committed public servant who is well-suited to lead the NTIA.” The nomination remains subject to Senate confirmation.