updated 11:40 am EST, Tue January 13, 2009
Genachowski for FCC
The replacement for current FCC chairman Kevin Martin may be one of the most public advocates of net neutrality, according to separate tips sent to the Wall Street Journal as well as the Washington Post. Those near President-elect Obama's transition team and lawmakers in the US capital reportedly say Obama has chosen venture capitalist, former FCC worker and presidential campaign adviser Julius Genachowski to serve as chairman for the government regulator.
The specific reasons behind the currently unconfirmed choice of Genachowski aren't mentioned, though the veteran is known for promoting the aggressive use of social networking services like Facebook and Twitter during Obama's campaign and for both his own advocacy of net neutrality as well as making the connection between this policy and the now successful Democratic presidential candidate. The concept would prevent Internet providers from unfairly favoring certain types of data traffic over others either by intentionally slowing down certain data or else reserving faster connections solely for its own variants of services available elsewhere.
Genachowski is also known for pushing for broadband penetration into rural areas and for media control rules that encourage competition by preventing too much concentrated ownership of TV, radio or other networks.
The change is potentially a major change for US technology policy. Although current FCC chair Martin is known for barring Comcast's throttling of BitTorrent traffic and for establishing wireless auction rules that will force some 700MHz providers to offer unlocked devices, critics have accused him of taking a softer stance on net neutrality than would actually enforce the policy. They also accuse him of allowing carriers to provide their own data on broadband penetration and thus evade serving rural or poorer areas.
A recent House Committee report similarly claims that Martin has an anti-cable bias and is more likely to act in the public interest when it has the potential to hurt cable TV and Internet firms.