Senators Urge Genachowski To Revive FCC

By Cecilia Kang
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Julius Genachowski is widely expected to be confirmed to head the Federal Communications Commission today, following a nomination hearing where he was urged to revive an agency lawmakers said had been mismanaged through years of secrecy and influenced by corporate interests.

"Fix this agency, and prove to us that the FCC is not battered beyond repair," Sen. John D. Rockefeller IV (D-W.Va.) said during yesterday's hearing. "Show us the FCC can put consumers first and give them confidence that when they interact with the agency they can get a fair response."

Rockefeller noted that during former chairman Kevin J. Martin's tenure, the FCC was under congressional investigation for mismanagement and the focus of criticism by the Government Accountability Office for its lack of transparency and potential misuse of data.

Genachowski said he plans to focus on wireless services and broadband technology to help spur job growth while also expanding access to all Americans.

"I'm energized by what is happening around the country in mobile. We're seeing incredible innovation," Genachowski said. "I believe we have an opportunity for America to lead the world in mobile."

A local venture capitalist and former general counsel for past FCC Chairman Reed Hunt, Genachowski served as the president's technology adviser during the campaign and transition. He also worked as an executive at Barry Diller's InterActive Corp. and clerked for Supreme Court Justices William J. Brennan Jr. and David H. Souter.

Senate leaders said the nominee was uniquely qualified to lead the agency, which has evolved as a watchdog of complex and fast-evolving mobile and Internet technologies as titans of the tech and telecom industries vie for rules that favor their business agendas.

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