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Wednesday, January 14, 2009

What the nomination of Julius Genachowski means

Obama's new FCC chair is a former senior legal advisor to FCC chairs under the Clinton administration (as well as Notes Editor on Harvard Law Review in 1991-  yup, Obama's notes editor). He also chaired Obama's tech panel in 2007.

So what does his nomination bring, beyond his commitment to telecoms regulation and net neutrality? It means a serious regulator is once more in charge of the FCC and it can get rapidly back on track - but not necessarily in convergence with European policy. First, the Obama plan involves far more detailed and extensive universal service for broadband to reach all Americans - imagine that in Europe? Nope. Second, the US does have 2 wires to each home, and promising use of the digital dividend from the 700MHz auction and elsewhere. So don't expect a return to UNE - the equivalent of European Unbundled Local Loop.

Do expect radical action on media pluralism, net neutrality and wireless. Change has come, and the FCC is no longer (soon) broken - its back in business.

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