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Genachowski Begins at FCC; Announces Senior Staff

Julius Genachowski was sworn in today as chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, beginning a tenure that is expected to bring more attention to new mobile and Internet technologies.

Genachowski also announced his key staff, stressing the private and public sector experience they will bring to the agency. Genachowski has been widely lauded for his experience in Washington as an entrepreneur and later as an investor. He served two clerkships and as general counsel for former FCC chairman Reed Hundt. Later he became an executive for IAC/InterActive, which bought several Internet firms, and founder of LaunchBox Digital and venture capital firm Rock Creek Ventures.

"The FCC should be a model of excellence in government," Genachowski said. "The agency will benefit enormously from their leadership, from their private and public sector experience . . ."

He chose as his chief of staff, Edward Lazarus, a relative unknown in the telecommunications industry. Lazarus comes from the law firm Akin Gump, where he supervised the Los Angeles office of 800 employees and was the co-head of the firm's global litigation practice.

Genachowski also appointed two senior advisors.

Colin Crowell, a veteran telecommunications aide for Rep. Ed Markey (D-Mass), will be a strategic advisor to the chairman, who will oversee communications, legislative and intergovernmental affairs. The role, which is a newly created focus for the chairman's office, indicates an emphasis on relations between the FCC and other agencies and the FCC's relationship with members on Capitol Hill. President Obama has stressed the importance of broadband Internet development as a tool for solving problems in education, healthcare and other areas and the FCC has been charged with coming up with a plan by next summer to bring high-speed Internet to all Americans. Crowell, who worked for Markey for more than 20 years, helped craft the clause in the stimulus plan that assigns the FCC its mandate for a national broadband Internet plan.

The other senior advisor, Bruce Gottleib, comes from Commissioner Michael J. Copps' office, where he specialized in wireless Internet and public safety issues. Gottleib will be Genachowski's senior legal advisor and will manage the agency's overall agenda and coordinate policy between the FCC's bureaus.

Genachowski has several issues lined up for his start. He will have to come up with a national broadband plan that not only connects all homes to high-speed Internet but also addresses issues of affordability and lack of training on how to use the Web. Public interest groups and small telecommunications firms, meanwhile, have pushed for reforms that would increase competition. Genachowski has promised Senate Commerce Committee leaders he will review a complaint by rural wireless carriers that exclusive deals between large carriers and handset makers are anticompetitive.

By Cecilia Kang  |  June 29, 2009; 4:42 PM ET  | Category:  Cecilia Kang
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Let’s hope the new chairman’s entrepreneurial and business background provides him the foundation for him to now take a look at the status of ‘leased access’ that has had new rules in limbo since a federal court granted a ‘stay’ over a year ago.
Hopefully he’ll let LAPers (leased access programmers) present evidence of how FCC or rather the ‘career-level’ staff at FCC, has since at least as long ago as 1992 gone out on a limb to not only help cable resist providing the ‘genuine outlet’ prescribed by Congress but refuse to follow their own plan to develop rules based on ‘case by case’ actions.
Perhaps he’ll want to have FCC begin to fully implement a law passed in 1984 and avoid LAPers being forced to ask Congress to hold hearings where in open session they can be shown how FCC’s staff has ignored the will of Congress while helping cable resist the law.

Posted by: stogtv | June 30, 2009 8:02 AM

I hope that the new FCC chairman can implement some system in which customers concern are handled in a more timely manner. As the system exist presently it can take over 11 months for a response to a complaint to be handled (as in my case filed in 8/08; and for which I am still awaiting the matter to be addressed & some action taken. My calls to the FCC office simply yields promises to get back to me. These promises are not kept, except one call and ask that I speak to whoever answers and apparently not ask for the supervisor who oversees those who are suppose to be handling my case.)
It would be wonderful to know that someone cares about the consumer & is willing to investigate and make a ruling on an issue. This is based on my experience with the FCC.

Posted by: hasammy | July 1, 2009 10:31 PM

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