Obama set to tap Julius Genachowski for FCC head

New FCC chairman has long technology resume and was chairman of the Obama committee whose plan makes a direct call for network neutrality

According to reports in the Wall Street Journal and other major media outlets, President-Elect Barack Obama is set to name Julius Genachowski, a Harvard classmate and top technology campaign advisor, as chairman of the FCC.

Genachowski was chairman of the Obama committee that created the campaign's Technology and Innovation Plan, which makes a direct call for network neutrality.

[ Related: Net neutrality advocates have been calling on Obama to act quickly to prevent broadband providers from blocking access to Internet content. ]

"Barack Obama strongly supports the principle of network neutrality to preserve the benefits of open competition on the Internet," according to the report.

Unfortunately, even the definition of net neutrality is mired in controversy, with some proponents of the concepts saying any form of QoS (Quality of Service) fees from  ISPs and carriers is discriminatory, giving only those who can afford to pay higher access fees the right to full broadband access. Opponents say QoS is required to accommodate multimedia technologies that include video and television content, which hogs bandwidth and slows down access for the majority of Web users.

The innovation plan, as designed by Genachowski and his group, appears to address some of these issues:

"Barack Obama supports the basic principle that network providers should not be allowed to charge fees to privilege the content or applications of some web sites and Internet applications over others.

Other components of the plan call for encouragement of diversity in media ownership by "promoting the development of new media outlets for expression of diverse viewpoints."

The plan also calls for giving parents tools to prevent viewing of programming they might find objectionable.

In addition, the plan states that it supports protection of privacy through "restrictions on how information may be used and technology safeguards to verify how the information has actually been used."

Before working for the Obama campaign, Genachowski was a co-founder of VC firms LaunchBox Digital and Rock Creek Ventures. He also served on the boards of The Motley Fool, Website Pros, and Mark Ecko Enterprises.

During the Clinton administration, Genachowski served as a general counsel to the chairman of the FCC.

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