Federal Communications Commission chairman Julius Genachowski is stepping down from his position. The news isn’t entirely surprisingly since Genachowski’s four year term was up in a few months anyway, but apparently he decided to exit slightly earlier. With Republican FCC Commissioner Robert McDowell’s announcement last week that he was leaving, Genachowski’s departure leaves the normally five person commission with only three commissioners, two Democratic and one Republican.
Genachowski was nominated to the chairmanship by President Obama back in 2009. His tenure saw him review many agreements in the telecom industry, from the blocked AT&T and T-Mobile merger to the latter’s recent deal with MetroPCS and the ongoing SoftBank-Sprint-Clearwire situation. He also pushed for faster Internet speeds, expanding high speed broadband across the U.S., and defending net neutrality.
Whether it was opening up wireless spectrum for mobile or speaking out against the law banning the unlocking of smartphones, Genachowski proved to be a deft hand at satisfying both corporations and consumers, even if neither side got everything they wanted. That reputation will serve him well since he’s not expected to retire and will likely end up at one of the many companies he’s been overseeing for the last four years.