Kara Swisher

Recent Posts by Kara Swisher

Genachowski to Head FCC–Maybe He Can Finally Fix My Broadband!

Finally, someone who might actually understand the Internet will be taking charge of the thus-far lackadaisical government body that plays the largest role in spurring its growth.

The Washington Post is reporting that Julius Genachowski (pictured here) will be tapped to take on the always controversial job of chairman of the Federal Communications Commission.

Sources with knowledge of the situation also confirmed the appointment, which will be announced in the next few days, to BoomTown.

Genachowski has previously worked for the FCC as its chief counsel under former FCC Chairman Reed Hundt. But he is better known to Silicon Valley as a longtime Internet exec at Barry Diller’s IAC/InterActiveCorp (IACI).

He is now a founder of a Washington, D.C.-based venture firm called LaunchBox Digital, which has invested in a plethora of unusually trendy Web 2.0 companies.

One of its investments, the social news aggregation service Socialmedian, was recently acquired by the German-based business networking site Xing for $7.5 million.

And Genachowski is also a co-founder and managing director of Rock Creek Ventures, another venture firm, and a special adviser at General Atlantic.

Perhaps most notably, he went to law school with President-Elect Barack Obama.

Thus, Genachowski worked the tech sector tirelessly for Obama’s election, along with organizing the campaign’s successful social-networking and online fund-raising campaign.

He was also clearly on the short list to be America’s first chief technology officer, which might be too light on policy-making and too heavy on pontificating for Genachowski’s tastes.

As top telecom and, really, Internet regulator, Genachowski will have a lot more power and even more on his plate, including the rocky shift from analog to digital television, now set to take place next month, as well as dealing with net neutrality and a range of other key Web issues.

But top of the agenda will likely be how to make real Obama’s promise to drastically improve broadband access across this nation and lowering prices.

The slow speeds and high costs are an appalling legacy of Washington regulators and politicians, who have lived too long and too deep in the pockets of big telecom companies.

That has made the U.S. exactly what Softbank founder Masa Son once called in an interview I did with him at a D: All Things Digital conference: the “Third World of broadband.”

Hey, Julius, you’ll fix that, right?


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The problem with the Billionaire Savior phase of the newspaper collapse has always been that billionaires don’t tend to like the kind of authority-questioning journalism that upsets the status quo.

— Ryan Chittum, writing in the Columbia Journalism Review about the promise of Pierre Omidyar’s new media venture with Glenn Greenwald