For Those Who Have Waited: Kevin Martin Leaving FCC

Let the rejoicing among competitive service providers and FCC staffers begin: The controversial chairman, Kevin Martin, finally has announced his resignation.

The Bell-loving, cable-hating Martin will leave the FCC on Inauguration Day. Martin could have finished out his commissioner’s term, which ends in 2011, but instead will join the Aspen Institute in Maryland as a senior fellow. The organization bills itself as a bipartisan nonprofit “dedicated to informed dialogue and inquiry on issues of global concern.”

Martin has worked at the FCC for nearly eight years; he spent the past four as its head, siding with Bell companies on mergers, wholesale access, forbearance and other matters that undermined the CLEC industry.

In a prepared statement issued on Thursday, Martin said his philosophy has been “to pursue deregulation while paying close attention to its impact on consumers and the particulars of a given market, to balance deregulation with consumer protection.”

There are a number of competitive providers who would scoff at that approach. Perhaps consumers were protected in some ways, but Martin’s approvals of forbearance petitions, for example, have eroded their choices in several markets throughout the country.

Martin is expected to be replaced by Julius Genachowski, a tech entrepreneur and former Harvard Law classmate of President-elect Barack Obama’s. Genachowski would have big tasks ahead of him including restoring FCC employees’ morale, competitive service providers’ faith and fairness in regulation.

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