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FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski Says He Will Step Down

The chairman of the Federal Communication Commission announced during a staff meeting on Friday that he intends to step down "in the coming weeks."

Julius Genachowski's resignation comes just a day after Commissioner Robert McDowell announced his plans to step down.

The New York Times reports the Obama administration has not settled on a replacement for Genachowski. It reports:

"Both resignations had been widely expected since the re-election of President Obama, although the timing had been in doubt because of the chairman's desire not to leave the commission with a 2-to-2 split between Republicans and Democrats.

"Mr. Genachowski leaves a number of his highest priorities unfinished, if well under way. The F.C.C. is in the process of drawing up an ambitious plan to make additional high-value airwaves, or spectrum, available for sale to mobile phone companies for use in wireless broadband Internet service."

Time Magazine has a bit of a retrospective on Genachowski's time at the FCC. He has been chairman since June of 2009:

"Throughout his tenure, he has tried to thread a centrist needle on issues like broadband policy, industry competition, and media consolidation. In doing so, he has managed to annoy almost every constituency, from public interest groups that have pushed for a more activist FCC, to industry giants who have bristled at some of his decisions.

"For example, Genachowski's decision to approve Comcast's purchase of NBCUniversal dismayed media reform advocates. On the other side of the ledger, his rejection of AT&T's proposed purchase of T-Mobile infuriated AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson. One might say that the fact that he's displeased two historically opposed forces — public interest groups and industry titans — suggests that he's actually done a relatively balanced job, but there is no doubt that he is not the most popular official in Washington, D.C."

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