Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Obama to Nominate Genachowski as FCC Head: Report

Citing sources close to the Obama transition team, the Wall Street Journal reported on Tuesday that President-elect Barack Obama has selected his technology adviser, Julius Genachowski to be the new head of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).

Besides the fact that Genachowski's name will give fits to those of us not married to someone from Poland (cheap plug for my wife), at least in terms of correct pronunciation, the blogosphere is weighing in on his support of net neutrality, something many are concerned about.

Of course, we all enjoyed the current FCC chair Kevin Martin's smackdown of Comcast last year (all right, maybe just I did), it's also true that he pushed some unpopular things through, notably media consolidation, despite many, many objections to it, particularly on the local level as people turned out in droves at hearings, speaking against the idea.

Genachowski, 46, is a former Harvard Law School classmate of Obama's, worked at the FCC during the Clinton administration and is a former executive at IAC Interactive Corp. He helped draft Obama's technology plan, which includes support for creating more widespread and affordable Internet access, and more diverse media ownership rules, as well as expressing support for net neutrality.

One of his first decisions may involve the transition to digital TV: this is scheduled to take effect on February 17th, but Obama has asked Congress to consider a delay. Martin has already spoken negatively about such a delay.

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