View Count: 125 |  Publish Date: March 22, 2013
FCC chairman Genachowski to step down
Bob Fernandez, INQUIRER STAFF WRITERPosted: Friday, March 22, 2013, 10:54 AM
Julius Genachowski, head of the federal agency that approved Comcast Corp.s purchase of NBCUniversal, said Friday that he is stepping down from a "revitalized" Federal Communications Commission over the next several weeks.
The resignation allows President Obama to appoint a new chairman at the FCC for his second term.
Genachowski, announcing his resignation at the agency Friday morning, said his tenure at the FCC was marked by the expansion of the nations broadband and wireless economies.
One of Genachowskis early regulatory actions was an attempt to make the Phillies and Sixers games on Comcast SportsNet available to Philadelphia-area customers of DirecTV and Dish. The games are still not available to satellite-TV customers.
In early 2011, the Genochowski-led FCC approved Comcasts purchase of 51 percent of NBCUniversal, after the agency had studied the deal for public-interest benefits for about a year. Comcast completed its purchase of the remaining 49 percent on Tuesday for $16.7 billion.
Industry officials and others praised Genachowski for his leadership, while communications groups expressed disappointment that he didnt do more to regulate the Internet.
"During a period of tremendous economic turmoil and marketplace uncertainty, Chairman Genachowski established a future-focused agenda that promoted investment in networks and services that are now delivering important societal benefits to American consumers," Michael Powell, a former FCC chairman who is now head of the National Cable & Telecommunications Association, said in a statement Friday. "The entire cable industry is grateful to Chairman Genachowski for his exceptional leadership."
Public Knowledge, a nonprofit advocacy group, said Genachowski could have done more at the FCC.
"He had the opportunity, but declined, to solidify the agencys authority and ability to protect consumers with regard to broadband - the communications system of the present and future," the group said. "As a result, there is a real danger that the FCC will become a powerless and irrelevant agency as the nations communications networks change."
Contact Bob Fernandez at 215-854-5897 or or follow on Twitter @bobfernandez1.
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