March 22, 2013
By Amy Maclean
Another day, another FCC departure. This time it’s the big cheese, with chmn Julius Genachowski announcing he will leave the agency in the coming weeks. The good-bye emails started Thursday night as news leaked that he would announce his resignation on Friday. Some praised him, some said they didn’t see eye-to-eye, and Free Press bashed him. Here’s a smattering of the statements released.
“Over the last four years, Julius has brought to the Federal Communications Commission a clear focus on spurring innovation, helping our businesses compete in a global economy and helping our country attract the industries and jobs of tomorrow. Because of his leadership, we have expanded high-speed internet access, fueled growth in the mobile sector, and continued to protect the open internet as a platform for entrepreneurship and free speech. I am grateful for his service and friendship, and I wish Julius the best of luck.”
NCTA pres/CEO Michael Powell
“As a former FCC Chairman who appreciates the incredible privilege and immense responsibility of overseeing the nation’s telecommunications sector, I want to thank and congratulate Chairman Genachowski for his outstanding leadership and remarkable accomplishments during his tenure. During a period of tremendous economic turmoil and marketplace uncertainty, Chairman Genachowski established a future-focused agenda that promoted investment in networks and services that are now delivering important societal benefits to American consumers. Chairman Genachowski wisely believed that ubiquitous Internet connectivity would be the defining technology of our day, and his leadership has ensured that America’s robust wired and wireless broadband networks are world class.”
Free Press pres/CEO Craig Aaron
“When Julius Genachowski took office, there were high hopes that he would use his powerful position to promote the public interest. But instead of acting as the people's champion, he’s catered to corporate interests. His tenure has been marked by wavering and caving rather than the strong leadership so needed at this crucial agency. Though President Obama promised his FCC chairman would not continue the Bush administration’s failed media ownership policies, Genachowski offered the exact same broken ideas that Bush’s two chairmen pushed. He never faced the public and ignored the overwhelming opposition to his plans. Genachowski claimed broadband was his agency's top priority, but he stood by as prices rose and competition dwindled. 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. While there were a few bright moments during the Genachowski years — including the agency’s opposition to the AT&T/T-Mobile merger and the push for more online transparency from broadcasters — the chairman squandered many more opportunities at critical junctures.”
NAB pres/CEO Gordon Smith
"NAB salutes Chairman Genachowski for his years of service at the FCC. The FCC chair is arguably one of the most difficult jobs in Washington, and yet Julius consistently performed with dedication and focus. We may have disagreed on occasion, but America's broadcasters wish him well in his journeys ahead."
“For those of us who represent the public, Chairman Genachowski‘s term can best be described as one of missed opportunities. 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. 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. The Chairman had the opportunity, but declined, to take several important steps that would have promoted more robust competition in the wireline and wireless broadband market. He punted on special access and permitted two major mergers, spelling the end of 'facilities-based' competition between the cable and telephone industries. 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. 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.”
House Commerce chmn Fred Upton (R-MI) and Communications Subcmte chmn Greg Walden (R-OR)
"We want to thank Chairman Genachowski for his service as Chairman of the FCC. While we did not see eye-to-eye on every policy, we did find common ground on issues including making more spectrum available for wireless broadband and protecting the Internet from international regulation. And even though more changes are needed that only legislation can secure, he did much to improve FCC process. Our meetings were always amiable and constructive, and we wish him and his family all the best."
Comcast evp David Cohen
"Chairman Genachowski focused on empowering all consumers with the tools they need to improve their daily lives with a special focus and passion on broadband adoption by low income Americans. We wish him the best as he departs and congratulate him on his very successful Chairmanship."
ACA pres/CEO Matt Polka
“ACA … appreciates the seriousness with which Chairman Genachowski treated ACA’s concerns in the Comcast-NBC Universal transaction. After a careful review of the public interest harms highlighted by ACA, the FCC imposed meaningful conditions that will benefit consumers served by smaller video programming providers who must negotiate with this media giant in the years ahead. ACA also notes that Chairman Genachowski decided to examine the broken retransmission consent regime at a time when broadcasters are blacking out pay-TV providers at a record pace and straining the limits of their duty to negotiate in good faith. Chairman Genachowski’s decision to shine a light on laws and regulations that are harming consumers should help persuade the next FCC Chairman to revise the regulations and Congress to update the 1992 Cable Act.”
Rep Anna Eshoo (D-CA), Ranking Member on House Communications subcmte
“Because of Chairman Genachowski’s leadership, new ground was broken at the FCC. America is leading the world in scale deployment of next generation mobile networks with tens of billions of dollars in private investment. Innovators will have access to more unlicensed spectrum than ever before, supporting the promise and potential of the wireless technology of tomorrow. The Internet remains a free and open platform for inventiveness and the sharing of ideas.”