updated 04:00 pm EST, Thu January 15, 2009
Martin to Leave FCC
FCC chairman Kevin Martin this afternoon said he would leave the organization on January 20th, the same day as President-elect Obama's administration takes office. The regulatory head plans to join the communications think tank Aspen Institute immediately afterwards and is departing ahead of the formal end of his term, which doesn't expire until 2011 and would have let him continue as a regular commissioner.
The move is believed at least partly prompted by Obama's expected choice of Julius Genachowski for the chairman spot, which would institute a change in policy more heavily in favor of net neutrality and rural broadband than Martin. A House Committee report also accused Martin of micro-managing the FCC and of consciously favoring phone companies over cable providers in many of his rulings.
Martin is nonetheless best known for coordinating the auction for the newly-cleared 700MHz wireless space, which will mostly be used for 4G cellular Internet access and in some cases will require support for unlocked devices and unrestricted software. He has also pushed for the approval of using untapped "white space" frequencies for unlicensed wide-area wireless.