Last updated: January 25, 2009 - 5:51pm
[Commentary] Julius Genachowski is unofficially the official pick of the president to chair the Federal Communications Commission. Perhaps no FCC chairman has ever had the kind of close, personal ties to a U.S. president as Genachowski has with Obama. What might such a close relationship between Obama and the head of an independent regulatory agency mean? For starters, one industry insider suggested well-heeled telecom companies could find it harder to get relief from the White House when they run into roadblocks at the FCC. He predicted lobbyists simply won't be able to get to first base if they attempt a work-around strategy. That could create problems for industry titans like Verizon Communications Inc. and AT&T Inc., parent firms of the nation's two largest mobile-phone carriers, cable TV giants and media moguls if Genachowski pursues policies fostering open, omnipresent broadband throughout the land. But telecom policy does not exist in a vacuum. As such, the most pronounced and tangible changes at the FCC are apt to be manifested in the process of policymaking itself. Whether Genachowski can loosen lobbyists' grip on the FCC is uncertain. It hasn't been done before, seeing that influence-wielding is so ingrained in and endemic to the organic political culture of official Washington. Good luck.
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