FCC Chairman Martin to depart, join Aspen Institute

FCC Chairman Kevin Martin announced that he would leave the FCC on Tuesday when Barack Obama is sworn in as the next president, and would follow in the footsteps of other former FCC chairmen and join the Aspen Institute think tank.

Martin, a Republican, has said recently that he expected to be replaced as chairman. Obama is expected to nominate a key technology advisor, Julius Genachowski, as the next chairman. Martin will join the nonpartisan think tank as a senior fellow with its Communications and Society Program. He said he would probably spend the next months working on communications issues for the Institute and deciding what to do next. 

Three of Martin's predecessors--Democrats Reed Hundt and William Kennard and Republican Michael Powell--became Aspen fellows after leaving their posts.

Martin, 42, was nominated by President George W. Bush to the commission in 2001 and became chairman in 2005. His tenure as chairman has mainly been marked by the deregulation of wireless industry--epitomized by Verizon Wireless' $28.1 billion acquisition of Alltel, creating the nation's largest wireless carrier.  He is also known for his desire for increased competition among cable operators, expanded broadband access and the 700 MHz spectrum auction.

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