Who will lead Obama-era FCC?

Monday morning may continue the speculation that Hillary Clinton will be named Secretary of State, but in more technical climes the wagers are on what will happen with the Federal Communications Commission. Ars Technica talked to telecom attorney Andrew Lipman, who expects Obama to move fast.

Monday morning may continue the speculation that Hillary Clinton will be named Secretary of State, but in more technical climes the wagers are on what will happen with the Federal Communications Commission. Ars Technica talked to telecom attorney Andrew Lipman, who expects Obama to move fast. Why? The issues the FCC deals with – broadband policy, digital television, spectrum auction – are critical to the areas where Barack Obama sees 21st century growth potential.

We think it's highly likely that [FCC chairman Kevin] Martin will step down if not immediately, then probably in February at the latest after the DTV transition" – Februay 17 -- Lipman predicted.

So who takes the chairmanship of the FCC and what will his marching orders be? One of the Democratic commissioners could get the interim job but would either be tapped for the permanent position? "I would say 'probably not'," Lipman said. Some possibilities:

  • Julius Genachowski, who spent time with Obama at Harvard Law Review
  • FCC veteran and former Al Gore adviser Don Gips
  • former Common Carrier Bureau chief Larry Strickling
  • former Florida PUC Commissioner Julia Johnson
  • broadcast media owner Richard Reingold.
Obama "looks at technology as holistic and as a catalyst for job creation, economic development, closing economic divides, clearly a multiplier impact on the economy," Lipman says. "Especially with broadband. And everybody knows he's an enthusiast for the Internet. Why not with 370,000 Internet contributions?"