FCC Chief Genachowski Knows The ‘Power Of Pragmatism’

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Credit: AP / Harry Hamburg

Julius Genachowski told the WSJ he learned the “power of pragmatism” from his time in the public and private sectors — along with “a respect for the power of private industry to create jobs, to generate economic growth.” That pragmatism shows up most clearly in what he didn’t say in his first round of interviews as chairman of the Federal Communications Commission: anything particularly memorable.

Unlike predecessor Kevin Martin, a Republican, who seemed to enjoy his lightning-rod status and aimed most of his own bolts at the cable industry, Genachowski appears to be focused more on issues. He helped develop the technology plan for the Obama administration so it’s no surprise that his main goal reflects the president’s: make broadband affordable and accessible across the U.S. B&C has a good explanation of the task ahead, including details to “broadband guru” Blair Levin. (An FCC staffer calls it “this year’s DTV transition.”)

He sees a way to mesh public, private, job creation and broadband, especially with early-stage companies, if I’m reading this WaPo interview right: “That’s where the greatest innovation is. What is interesting to me is to find ways to work with early-stage innovators to build from the edge and work on tomorrow’s ideas.”

Broadband’s not the only thing on his heavy plate, of course. Among the other issues with a high profile, the FCC is reviewing exclusive deals between handset makes and wireless carriers, most notably A&&T and Apple’s iPhone. Genachowski told the Journal there was no set timetable for the review, adding that it would be handled in a way “that doesn’t prejudge the outcome.” And, as the Journal also notes, he has to deal with the internal fallout from Martin’s management style.

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