By Kathy Kemper – 03/30/10 08:51 AM ET
Two weeks ago, the Federal Communications Commission submitted its first-ever National Broadband Plan to Congress. In Part 1 of this series, the FCC’s chairman, Julius Genachowski, took the time to explain why the United States needs a new, comprehensive approach to broadband and what the goals of the Plan are.
In Part 2, the chairman takes a step back and looks at the “big picture,” discussing his vision for the FCC as an organization and communications issues that he has prioritized since becoming its chief.
Q: What is your vision for the FCC?
The FCC is unique in its jurisdiction. In other countries, there may be three or four agencies that do what the FCC does. As a “converged agency,” the FCC can look at the full sweep of the communications landscape.
[My vision for the FCC is] ensuring that the nation has a communications infrastructure that’s an enduring engine of economic and job growth and that creates opportunities around education, healthcare, and energy. It also includes fighting against economic realities that prevent universality of access to communications technology.
The most important thing to do as the leader of an organization is to focus on the organization and the people who run it. After becoming chairman, I’ve tried to build a team at the FCC that can “meet the moment.”
What are you doing to modernize the FCC?
At the beginning of my tenure, I went around the FCC asking people how familiar they were with modern communications devices. It turned out that they were less familiar with them than one might think. This led to trying to build a “technology lending library” at the FCC for employees so they can borrow and use communications devices. The library may eventually open to the public.
I’m also focusing on infrastructure and data issues because I inherited an agency where the communications infrastructure was outdated. This means merging databases so that employees are able to communicate better, work together more efficiently and bring people in from the private sector who have relevant expertise.
Externally, I am trying to open the agency to various stakeholders. Fifty FCC workshops have been held so far to discuss different issues. People should be able to engage with the FCC directly rather than have to come to D.C. and hire a lawyer.
Now a few fun questions. What do you do for recreation?
Play basketball and go to the park with my kids.
How do you get your news (print subscription, online or via Kindle)?
All of the above.