Julius Genachowski, the chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, today announced his plan to resign from the agency he's led since September 2009.
"Over the past four years, we've focused the FCC on broadband, wired and wireless, working to drive economic growth and improve the lives of all Americans," Genachowski said in a statement issued this morning. "And thanks to you, the Commission's employees, we've taken big steps to build a future where broadband is ubiquitous and bandwidth is abundant, where innovation and investment are flourishing."
The FCC said Genachowski plans to leave his post "in the coming weeks." President Barack Obama has not named his pick for a successor. Genachowski did not identify his post-FCC plans.
Earlier this week, Robert McDowell, a Republican member of the commission, and the FCC chief counsel, Sherrese Smith, announced their intent to leave the agency in the next several weeks.
Genachowski said in his remarks today that "America's broadband economy is thriving, with record-setting private investment; unparalleled innovation in networks, devices and apps; and renewed U.S. leadership around the world."
Under Genachowski, the FCC initiated, among other things, a national broadband plan "to harness the opportunities of high-speed Internet, promote U.S. global competitiveness, and bring the benefits of 21st century communications to all Americans." Genachowski said in his statement today the commission has shown "an unprecedented commitment to broadband infrastructure."
Genachowski's resignation was expected, as The National Law Journal reported in November. Three possible picks for his replacement include Larry Strickling, the National Telecommunications Information Administration leader; Scott Blake Harris, general counsel at Neustar Inc.; and Karen Kornbluh, U.S. ambassador to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development.
The consumer advocacy group Public Knowledge, responding on Thursday to news reports about Genachowski's intent to announce his plans to resign, said in a statement that "Chairman Genachowski's term can best be described as one of missed opportunities."
"The Chairman deserves credit for defending both the Commission's data roaming rules and unlicensed spectrum, for permitting DISH Network to provide terrestrial wireless service, and for releasing the staff report that helped to end AT&T's attempted takeover of T-Mobile," Public Knowledge said in a statement. "But it remains to be seen whether those positive steps will mitigate the enormous consolidation that has taken place in the broadband marketplace under his watch."