Julius Genachowski just officially confirmed reports that he will leave “in the coming weeks.” That has those who follow FCC matters wondering who President Obama will name as a successor — and whether that person will share Genachowski’s belief that the Internet should be cultivated as the nation’s chief communications medium. The smart money is betting on Tom Wheeler, who’s Managing Director of Core Capital Partners and is close to the president. Four years ago he ran Obama’s transition effort for science, technology, space and arts agencies. Wheeler lobbied for the cable industry from 1979 to 1984 when he was president of the National Cable Television Association, and then represented wireless phone companies as CEO of the Cellular Telecommunications & Internet Association (CTIA). Close behind in the speculation is Larry Strickling, who’s Administrator of the Commerce Department’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) and helped to manage the Recovery Act’s broadband grants. Another possibility: Karen Kornbluh, who’s Ambassador to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. Genachowski said today that during his tenure broadband has become “ubiquitous and bandwidth is abundant and investment and innovation are flourishing” while in mobile “the U.S. has gone from laggard to leader.”
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