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FCC Head Julius Genachowski Confirms Departure to Staffers


Julius Genachowski

The departure won’t happen for weeks, but the Obama appointee earns praise from a fellow Republican commissioner at the agency.

Julius Genachowski confirmed on Friday that he will step down as head of the Federal Communications Commission.

At the agency that regulates cable, broadcast and telephone companies, Genachowski addressed staffers. According to Reuters, he didn’t indicate exactly when he would be leaving.

"We’ll be working together a little while longer," Genachowski told a room filled with more than a hundred agency staffers. "As far as we’ve come, and I know we all feel this, our agency can’t rest on its laurels. We can’t let up on the gas pedal."

Genachowski, a Democrat, was appointed by President Barack Obama in 2009. Among his activities at the agency, he’s promoted broadband access, focused on auctions of the wireless spectrum, oversaw the agency in an effort to block the 2011 merger bid between AT&T Inc and T-Mobile USA and moved the agency away from aggressive indecency policing of broadcast television.

FCC commissioner Robert McDowell, a Republican appointed in 2006, has also said he is leaving the agency.

In a statement today, McDowell commented about the departure of Genachowski.

"Although occasionally we disagreed, sometimes profoundly, he leaves office with my utmost respect," said McDowell. "He proved that through hard work, persistence and creativity, bipartisanship and compromise in policymaking can occur in Washington, even in these days of sharp divisions and gridlock."

McDowell also addressed the agency’s plans to auction off airwaves from TV stations for wireless use and mobile data services."

He said that Genachowski "has been an eloquent and effective advocate for repurposing valuable spectrum to meet the needs and demands of American consumers.  The results may not come to fruition for years, but many of his efforts in the wireless sector will help spur investment, innovation and economic growth.

Twitter: @eriqgardner

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