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FCC Chairman Genachowski Announces Resignation

Fri, 03/22/2013 - 10:38am
Andrew Berg

FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski announced his resignation today, saying he will step down in the "coming weeks." Genachowski, a Democrat, was confirmed in June of 2009, succeeding then Republican chairman Kevin J. Martin.  

Genachowski's tenure as Chairman was a disruptive one, with the introduction of the National Broadband Plan, which included over 200 reccomendations for allocating more spectrum for mobile broadband, as well as plans for a complete overhaul of the Universal Service Fund, among many other initatives.  

During his time as chairman, Genachowski also took the lead on killing AT&T's proposed $39 billion acquisition of T-Mobile, eventually forcing AT&T to withdraw its proposal. 

Genacwhoski was head of the FCC during four-year period that saw booming investment in wireless infrastructure as carriers raced to prepare their networks for LTE rollouts.  

News of Genachowski's resignation comes in the wake of Commissioner Rob McDowell's announcement this week that he too is stepping down from his post to spend more time with his family. 

Genachowski began a Friday morning call with FCC staff that was broadcast on the commission's website by joking that he had called the meeting to announce that he was tied for first place in the FCC's March Madness pool. 

"In March 2009, shortly before completing his own NCAA bracket on ESPN, President Obama nominated me to lead this great agency," he said, eventually moving on from the laughter to announce his impending resignation. 

A Wall Street Journal report noted that Tom Wheeler, a venture capitalist and former head of CTIA, is being considered as a possible replacement for Genachowski. The Journal also notes Karen Kornbluh, and Lawrence Strickling are also being considered for the job.

Genachowski said he will help ensure a "healthy transition" to new leadership.  

In a statement, CTIA president and CEO Steve Largent expressed his thanks and appreciation for Genachowski’s leadership.

"Julius was instrumental in overseeing the National Broadband Plan and has been a strong voice on spectrum issues and acceleration of broadband infrastructure deployment so that consumers may continue to enjoy the benefits of the wireless ecosystem," Largent said. "Julius recognized early on the benefits of mobile broadband and made it a priority to deliver additional, cleared spectrum to meet consumer demand and maintain U.S. global leadership. We wish him the best in his future endeavors.”

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