- What Genachowski Will Do At The FCC

James Quintana Pearce
Tuesday, January 13, 2009; 9:00 PM

It's now common knowledge that Obama pick for FCC head Julius Genachowski went to Harvard with him, was an adviser to two FCC chairmen during the Clinton era (Reed Hundt and Bill Kennard), drafted the Obama Tech and Innovation plan, helped raise $500,000 for the President Elect, and founded start-up incubator LaunchBox Digital. But what are his views on the big telco issues of the day? Surprisingly, for a guy who is a promoter of open government and using social media to connect to the people, the web isn't exactly teeming with his every thought on topics like digital TV or net neutrality. But here's what a bit of quick research would suggest:

?Net Neutrality: It's pretty clear that Genachowski is pro-network neutrality. His only blog post on the Obama/Biden campaign site was to tout the Obama Technology & Innovation Plan (the advisory group of which he chaired). "Open Government. Open Networks. Open Markets? I liked the sharp summary and wanted to share it." Most commentators agree that he will promote an open internet and network neutrality: "We would expect Genachowski to pursue the Obama communications agenda [which he helped develop] of promoting greater broadband deployment and access, an open Internet and network neutrality, competition and innovation, and media diversity, among other broad goals," said Kaut and Arbogast" in MultiChannel.

?DTV: When Genachowski left the FCC back in 1997 the release lauded his work on DTV: "Julius has been the brains behind our best ideas and the brawn for our heavy lifting?we let him leave the Commission only after he helped devise and adopt our framework for digital television?one that relies on the market, ensures competition and preserves and promotes the public interest."

It's also seems likely that he'll support Obama's request to delay the February 17 transition date to DTV, which Kevin Martin opposes, although that mostly seems to be speculation that he was involved in the advising of Obama on that request.

?Wireless: Since Genachowski chaired the advisory panel that came up with the Obama Technology & Innovation Plan (PDF) it's a good place to look for his ideas on wireless. It talks about "better use of the nation's wireless spectrum" being one of the methods to improve broadband access in the U.S. The plan states that Obama will demand a review of existing uses of wireless spectrum and create incentives for smarter, more efficient and more imaginative uses of government spectrum. The role of overseeing the development of a national, interoperable wireless network for local, state and federal first responders will fall to whoever gets the CTO position.


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