FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski Resigns

March 22, 2013 -

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) confirmed a story that had been circulating the internet over the last 24 hours: that Chairman Julius Genachowski will be leaving his position "in the coming weeks." Genachowski pushed hard for universal broadband and net neutrality but with limited success. While he managed to implement net neutrality, rights groups were disappointed that those rules seemed to have no teeth when it came to data caps and other important issues related to service providers controlling the free flow of data on the Internet.

Who Genachowski will be replaced with remains to be seen but the FCC is holding a meeting later today, so hopefully we'll know more later tonight. Ultimately the choice is up to the Administration.

While the FCC is holding off on a statement, Ars Technica points out rights group Free Press didn't hold back on criticizing the soon-to-be-former FCC chairman:

"Genachowski claimed broadband was his agency's top priority, but he stood by as prices rose and competition dwindled," Craig Aaron, President and CEO of Free Press, a media and technology advocacy group, said in a statement. "He claimed to be a staunch defender of the open Internet, but his Net Neutrality policies are full of loopholes and offer no guarantee that the FCC will be able to protect consumers from corporate abuse in the future."

Public Knowledge had similar thoughts on the FCC chairman:

"He had the opportunity, but declined, to solidify the agency’s authority and ability to protect consumers with regard to broadband — the communications system of the present and future," the group said (as reported by The Hill). "As a result, there is a real danger that the FCC will become a powerless and irrelevant agency as the nation’s communications networks change."

Genachowski is the second FCC commissioner to announce his resignation this year: Robert McDowell announced yesterday that he would step down from the five-member panel. McDowell was the senior republican on the commission, while Genachowski was the senior Democrat. The President is expected to replace both members soon.


 
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