Commerce Dept airwave official heads to K Street

A senior Commerce Department official responsible for helping to manage chunks of radio airwaves owned by the government is stepping down to work for a major Washington law and lobbying firm.

Karl Nebbia, the former associate administrator of the National Telecommunications and Information Administration’s (NTIA) spectrum management office, has joined Wiley Rein, the firm announced on Monday.


At Wiley Rein, Nebbia will advise clients on a host of spectrum issues including U.S. and international regulation.

“Recognized by the U.S. government and the communications industry as a forward-thinking leader, Karl is a respected and skilled negotiator and advisor on important and highly technical spectrum issues,” telecommunications practice head R. Michael Senkowski said in a statement announcing the hire.

“He will be an invaluable asset to our clients.”

Nebbia has been at the NTIA since 1998.

At the Commerce Department agency, he led groups on policy planning, spectrum management and radio usage. Recently, he has focused on President Obama’s call to find chunks of the airwaves that can be used for wireless Internet service or shared between multiple services and uses.