FCC Head Julius Genachowski Confirms Departure to Staffers

12:08 PM PST 03/22/2013 by Eriq Gardner
Win McNamee/Getty Images
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 Friday that he will step down as head of the Federal Communications Commission.

During an address to staffers, Genachowski didn't indicate exactly when he would be leaving, according to Reuters.

"We'll be working together a little while longer," Genachowski told a room filled with more than 100 agency workers. "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. Through his activities at the agency, which regulates cable, broadcast and telephone companies, he's promoted broadband access, focused on auctions of the wireless spectrum, oversaw an effort to block the 2011 merger bid between AT&T 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, also is exiting the FCC.

In a statement, McDowell commented on 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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