Genachowski May be in Line for FCC Post
By Cecila Kang
Speculation is rife in the telecom industry that President-elect Barack Obama could name Julius Genachowski, a local venture capitalist, chairman of the Federal Communications Commission as early as Friday, although sources close to the transition declined to confirm the move.
Obama, who famously used social networking and online fundraising to fuel his campaign success, is expected to begin announcing members of his team to lead his "Innovation Agenda." Those position would include Chief Technology Officer, chair of the FCC, chair of the FTC and head of the White House's telecom policy arm, the National
Telecommunications and Information Administration.
Genachowski, who attended law school at Harvard with Obama and spearheaded the president-elect's technology and innovation agenda, was widely seen a leading contender for the positions of CTO or FCC Chair. Many telecom industry leaders and regulators said they believed Genachowski had first pick on any of the roles in Obama's
administration that would oversee technology policy.
Sources close to transition officials who spoke on the condition of anonymity said Genachowski had been recently meeting with key Democratic lawmakers to see if the role of CTO would have policy-making authority and decided against taking the job when he realized the definition of CTO would not include a strong regulatory role. Instead, Genachowski expressed interest in the FCC post. He previously served as chief counsel to former FCC Chairman Reed Hundt.
Obama has highlighted his goal to bring universal broadband Internet access to all Americans and promote "net neutrality," which would prevent network operators from blocking or slowing content on their networks.
With today's appointment of the chair of the Securities and Exchange Commission, telecom industry business leaders, lobbyists and regulators have speculated the president-elect will begin announcing his "Innovation Agenda" team and would want to do so before the Holidays.
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