David Redl, President Donald Trump’s nominee to head the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), pledged during today’s nomination hearing to maximize use of federal-government spectrum and help ensure a successful FirstNet deployment, if he is confirmed to serve in the post.

Redl had no confrontational exchanges with members of the Senate Commerce Committee, which should bode well for his bid to become the U.S. Department of Commerce assistant secretary of communications and NTIA administrator—a job last held by Lawrence Strickling.

In his opening remarks, Redl said he would work to ensure that federal-government spectrum overseen by NTIA would be used in the most efficient manner, which could include spectrum-sharing arrangements with commercial entities.

“If confirmed, I’ll work with Congress and the administration to ensure that the needs of our government spectrum users are balanced with the continuing need for additional licensed and unlicensed commercial spectrum,” Redl said during the hearing. “I’ll advance policies to improve access to broadband for all Americans. I’ll work to advance the U.S. digital economy. And I’ll work to ensure that the Internet remains a driver of free speech, free-market commerce and economic opportunity.”

Redl, who has spent the last six years as chief counsel for the House Energy and Commerce Committee, which oversees telecommunications issues, described NTIA staff members as the “the unsung heroes of the U.S. digital economy,” noting that “it would be a privilege to have the chance to lead them.”

Of course, NTIA is the government agency that houses FirstNet, the independent authority that has selected AT&T as its contractor to build a nationwide public-safety broadband network (NPSBN) beginning later this year. In response to an inquiry from Sen. Roger Wicker (R-Miss.), Redl said he would work to ensure the integrity of states’ right to pursue the “opt-out” alternative, which calls for the state to build its LTE radio access network (RAN) instead of FirstNet’s contractor, AT&T.

“I—first and foremost—hope that, when these plans come out later this month, that every state will find them to meet the needs of their states and their public-safety users,” Redl said. “However, as you rightly note, the statute does provide an opt-out [alternative]. And, yes, it is my belief that states should be given the opportunity to truly opt out.

“But the statute also says that it’s NTIA’s job to make sure that those opt-out plans meet the needs of public-safety users. If I’m confirmed, I will absolutely work with each state that wants to opt out to ensure that their opt-out right is recognized and that their public-safety users get the network that they need.”

Wicker also expressed concern that FirstNet’s user fees could become a “cost burden” to rural public-safety entities. Redl pledged that he would work to ensure that does not become an issue.

“Networks aren’t much without users, Senator,” Redl said. “And, if you’ve got a network that people can’t afford to be on, you lose that network effect. If confirmed, I will work with FirstNet to make sure that we get as many people on the network as possible.”