Julius Genachowski, a strong proponent of Net Neutrality, was confirmed by the Senate late Thursday to be the influential chairman of the Federal Communications Commission.
Genachowski is well regarded in the technology community, both as former chief counsel to Reed Hundt, an FCC chairman under President Bill Clinton, and as a private-sector entrepreneur and venture capitalist.
He's also a former law school classmate of Barack Obama and the principal architect of the president's technology and innovation plan, with Net Neutrality as its centerpiece.
The plan was unveiled during a November 2007 event, during which then-candidate Obama pledged to "ensure a free and full exchange of information" and to "take a backseat to no one in my commitment to Network Neutrality."
Expect Chairman Genachowski to turn his attention to bringing more choice to a broadband market controlled by a cartel of phone and cable companies.
He's also expected to move decisively to open valuable spectrum to broadband innovation and access -- something his predecessor, former FCC Chair Kevin Martin, claimed as a part of his own legacy at the agency.
Still, more needs to be done.
Genachowski's influence on Obama has already yielded forward-looking Internet policies included in the government stimulus package passed in March. The American Reinvestment and Recovery Act set aside billions to connect more Americans to broadband, and required that the largest chunk, $4.7 billion, be spent building networks that abide by Net Neutrality.
"A key reason the Internet has been such a success is because it is the most open network in history. It needs to stay that way," Obama's change.gov policy platform states. "Barack Obama strongly supports the principle of network neutrality to preserve the benefits of open competition on the Internet."
With Genachowski at the helm, the FCC needs to move decisively to limit phone and cable companies’ encroachment on user choice on the Internet.