FCC Chairman Martin to Step Down Next Week

Friday, January 16, 2009

Federal Communications Commission Chairman Kevin J. Martin, a Bush appointee who angered many in his own party with a push to reform cable pricing, said yesterday that he will leave the agency upon the handover to the new administration.

In a statement, Martin said that he will join the Aspen Institute, a nonprofit leadership group, as a senior fellow on communications issues after his departure Tuesday. President-elect Barack Obama is expected to nominate his technology adviser, Julius Genachowski, a local venture capital investor and former official of the FCC, to head the agency.

Martin led the FCC for four years through sweeping changes in the telecommunications and high-tech sectors, adding oversight of wireless technologies and high-speed Internet access to the agency's more traditional role of broadcast and media regulation.

He said in his statement that he "approached his decisions with a fundamental belief that a robust, competitive marketplace, not regulation, is ultimately the best protector of the public interest and the best method of delivering the benefits of choice, innovation, and affordability to American consumers."

Martin will likely be remembered for forcing the winner of a spectrum auction to open its network to outside technologies. He also ruled against cable operator Comcast in its practice of slowing down certain Internet traffic on its network.

-- Cecilia Kang

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