Julius Genachowski, head of the federal agency that approved Comcast Corp.'s purchase of NBCUniversal, said Friday that he is stepping down from a "revitalized" Federal Communications Commission over the next several weeks.
The resignation allows President Obama to appoint a new chairman at the FCC for his second term.
Genachowski, announcing his resignation at the agency on Friday morning, said his tenure at the FCC was marked by the expansion of the nation's broadband and wireless economies.
Industry officials and others praised Genachowski for his leadership, while communications groups expressed disappointment that he didn't do more to regulate the Internet.
"During a period of tremendous economic turmoil and marketplace uncertainty, Chairman Genachowski established a future-focused agenda that promoted investment in networks and services that are now delivering important societal benefits to American consumers," Michael Powell, a former FCC chairman who is now head of the National Cable & Telecommunications Association, said in a statement Friday. "The entire cable industry is grateful to Chairman Genachowski for his exceptional leadership."
Public Knowledge, a nonprofit advocacy group, said Genachowski could have done more at the FCC.
"He had the opportunity, but declined, to solidify the agency's authority and ability to protect consumers with regard to broadband -- the communications system of the present and future," the group said. "As a result, there is a real danger that the FCC will become a powerless and irrelevant agency as the nation's communications networks change."
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