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Julius GenachowskiHe's bright, well-connected, has a lot of money to spend and the political capital do it. Meet the new nominee for FCC chairman Julius Genachowski.  While his confirmation is virtually a lock, his stance on "net neutrality" has content providers on edge.

Genachowski comes from a solid Internet background. He worked in several different positions at IAC, co-founded technology investment firm Rock Creek Ventures and was part of the team at LaunchBox Digital.

His college law school buddy Barack Obama has charged him with bringing broadband to every corner of the country and given him $7.2 billion to do it. Genachowski is poised to make an impact at the FCC. All this is fine, but on the big question he needs to state his position.

That issue is net neutrality. Obama is in favor of maintaining the net 's neutral status in terms of infrastructure providers keeping the pipes open, non-judgmental, and free. That basically means Google and anyone else with content doesn't have to pay a toll to Verizon or other carriers. Genachowski will be consistent with that view. But his ideas on whether net neutrality becomes an FCC regulation, or federal law, or stays as a free-market variable is not yet clear.

The smart bet is on FCC regulation. Genachowski knows that infrastructure companies have many sources of revenue and will profit from the increased amount of broadband homes that will be brought online. He also knows that content companies need some help. A guarantee that an infrastructure toll won't be a burden during his administration would qualify as help.

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Published 4 March, 2009 by John Gaffney

John Gaffney is US Editor at Econsultancy. Follow him on Twitter

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