The distribution of broadband stimulus funds and the administration of the NTIA digital television (DTV) converter box program emerged as key topics of discussion at a Senate Commerce Committee hearing conducted Wednesday on the nomination of former Washington Governor Gary Locke as Commerce Department secretary. Although Locke, a Democrat, is expected to receive full Senate endorsement, several committee members emphasized that the success of the DTV transition and the proper use of stimulus monies to bring the full benefit of broadband to the nation’s economy will be top priorities for Locke and his department. Voicing concern that many consumers remain waitlisted for DTV converter box coupons in spite of the recent receipt of additional DTV program funds at the NTIA, ranking committee member Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX) told Locke, “I will certainly want to see how you plan to run the NTIA to assure that DTV is ready to transition in June.” In reply, Locke told Hutchison that he expected the backlog in converter box requests would be resolved by next week and that future coupon requests would be processed within ten days of receipt. Locke also confirmed “we will not be seeking additional funds, nor will we be seeking an extension” of the DTV transition deadline beyond the June 12 date mandated by Congress. With respect to broadband, Locke said he would initiate a series of public meetings that would enable stakeholders to contribute ideas on the best use of the stimulus funds as he further pledged that his department would use “monitoring systems from day one so we know what we got for the dollars we spent.” Voicing support for the nomination, Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA) told her colleagues that Locke was well versed on telecom issues and made significant progress in bringing broadband services to rural areas during his tenure as Washington state governor.