Heads to think tank now that the broadband plan is done...
Blair Levin, who was tasked with spearheading the FCC's national broadband plan, is leaving the agency now that the plan (or what passes for one) was released last month
. According to an FCC statement
(pdf), Levin is headed to a job over at the Aspen Institute think tank
. Of course Levin's departure comes before much of the actual work
has to get done. As we've noted, the plan is simply a vague outline for a number of smaller battles, and with the FCC's recent court loss to Comcast
, that fight just got tougher. In a statement, FCC boss Julius Genachowski gushed over the departing Levin:
"Blair has been masterful in providing wisdom to the Commission about how technology and market trends interact with the nation’s public policy agenda. His leadership in raising the quality of work and thought throughout the Commission is beyond measure and I am sure he will continue to make similar contributions for the country while he is at the Aspen Institute."
While Levin may have done a lot of great logistical work, Levin was also apparently a big part of the reason why the FCC's broadband plan fails to really rattle the status quo, given he made it clear he wasn't interested in challenging carriers in court
over concepts like open access or competition. Levin took the strange approach of admitting defeat on these issues before even trying anything, something AT&T, Verizon and Comcast lawyers surely appreciated.
When the plan was criticized by consumer advocates and others for failing to really tackle competition, Levin then on several occasions insisted that such criticism wasn't productive
. It's not clear when Levin wanted said competition critics to speak their mind on the issue -- but apparently he'll no longer have to worry about it.