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Obama advisor tipped to head FCC

A former Harvard Law School classmate of US president-elect Barack Obama has been tipped to head up communications regulator the FCC.

Julius Genachowski is web-savvy Obama’s chief policy adviser on the internet and technology, and was the FCC’s chief counsel under the Clinton administration.

Genachowski is a veteran of the technology and new media industries, having held top positions at InterActiveCorp and Rock Creek Ventures as well as numerous other tech firms.

Industry watchers have commented that the selection bodes well for a clued up communications policy under the Obama administration, with the emphasis expected to be on driving competition, especially among the wireless operators. Controversially, Genachowski is also known to be a supporter of net neutrality.

During his campaign, Obama vowed to extend broadband to every US community though a host of initiatives, including “better use of the nation’s wireless spectrum.”

“It is unacceptable that the United States ranks 15th in the world in broadband adoption,” he said in a recent radio and YouTube address.

Obama is also a backer of net neutrality, a concept that has broad ramifications for mobile operators that provide internet access and data services. In an appearance on MTV during his presidential campaign in 2007, Obama pledged to appoint only supporters of Net neutrality as commissioners at the FCC.

But the Obama administration’s stance on overall mobile regulation will only become totally clearer once the president-elect fulfils his pledge to name the nation’s first CTO, who will work with technology heads at each federal agency to promote the use of best-in-class technologies. Although Eric Schmidt, Google’s CEO and a frequent nemesis of incumbent mobile operators, has removed his name as a CTO candidate, he remains a member of the Obama transition team’s economic-advisory board and will influence Obama’s CTO appointment and his choices for new commissioners at the FCC.

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