Obama picks Net neutrality backer as FCC chief

Julius Genachowski, an advisor on the Obama campaign, has divided his career between Washington, D.C., political jobs and working as an Internet executive.

Declan McCullagh Former Senior Writer
Declan McCullagh is the chief political correspondent for CNET. You can e-mail him or follow him on Twitter as declanm. Declan previously was a reporter for Time and the Washington bureau chief for Wired and wrote the Taking Liberties section and Other People's Money column for CBS News' Web site.
Declan McCullagh
2 min read

President Obama on Tuesday nominated Julius Genachowski as the nation's top telecommunications regulator, picking a campaign advisor who has divided his career between Washington, D.C., political jobs and working as an Internet executive.

Genachowski had been mentioned as a likely candidate for the Federal Communications Commission post, in part because he participated in the Obama campaign's Internet efforts and previously worked as chief counsel to Democratic FCC Chairman Reed Hundt.

Julius Genachowski
Julius Genachowski LaunchBox Digital

"He will bring to the job diverse and unparalleled experience in communications and technology, with two decades of accomplishment in the private sector and public service," Obama said in a statement.

Genachowski is likely to continue the Democratic push for more Net neutrality regulations, which are opposed by some conservatives and telecommunications providers. He was a top Obama technology advisor and aided in crafting a technology platform that supported Net neutrality rules.

The FCC's first official Net neutrality ruling--an earlier one resulted in a settlement--came last summer when the agency narrowly voted by a 3-2 margin that Comcast's throttling of BitTorrent was unlawful. That case is now before a federal appeals court.

Genachowski was a Harvard classmate of Obama's and previously worked for Democratic Sen. Chuck Schumer. He's currently a co-founder of LaunchBox Digital and Rock Creek Ventures, and held executive posts including general counsel at IAC/InterActiveCorp, which owns a list of Web properties including Ask.com, Match.com, Gifts.com, Reference.com, Evite, Citysearch, and Excite.

IAC is a member of a coalition that supports more Net neutrality regulations and which also includes Amazon, eBay, and Google.

Genachowski doesn't take over the post officially until his nomination is confirmed, as expected, by the Senate.