Kevin Martin Out as FCC Chair

Tod Hunter
WASHINGTON — FCC Chairman Kevin J. Martin has announced his resignation from the Federal Communications Commission effective Jan. 20. A Bush appointee, Martin could have remained on the commission until his term expired in 2011.

In a statement, Martin stated that his philosophy during his tenure at the FCC “has been to pursue deregulation while paying close attention to its impact on consumers and the particulars of a given market, to balance deregulation with consumer protection.” He also said that he “approached his decisions with a fundamental belief that a robust, competitive marketplace, not regulation, is ultimately the best protector of the public interest and the best method of delivering the benefits of choice, innovation, and affordability to American consumers.”

Martin's last initiative as FCC chair, an auction of part the broadband spectrum with the provision that the winning bidder also provide free wireless Internet service, was never voted on by the commission.

Incoming President Obama's reported choice for the FCC chairmanship is Julius Genachowski, a Harvard Law classmate of Obama's who served as technology adviser to the campaign and was an adviser to FCC Chairmen Reed Hundt and Bill Kennard during the Clinton presidency.

Genachowski is a reported advocate for net neutrality and helped the FCC formulate its digital television strategy in the late '90s.

After his resignation next Tuesday, Martin will serve as a Senior Fellow at the Aspen Institute in Washington, D.C., becoming the fourth consecutive FCC chairman to accept that position at the Aspen Institute upon leaving the commission.