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Julius Genachowski, Chairman, Federal Communications Commission
Influence: Genachowski has the thankless task of bringing the FCC into the 21st century almost a decade after the 21st century arrived. He has to deliver a plan for a national broadband infrastructure and arbitrate the consumer Internet experience through regulatory actions like punishing net neutrality violators — all while hoping to somehow make mobile broadband ubiquitous. When it comes to mobile broadband, he will be instrumental in getting new spectrum allocated as well as making decisions on alternative technologies such as white spaces broadband or even WiMAX. As the head of the FCC, Genachowski is the chief regulator for the nation’s airwaves, and as such has the power to dictate how those airwaves are used as well as how far network operators can go in deciding what travels across them.