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Genachowski on FCC Mission: ‘You Can’t Make Everyone Happy’

FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski, Photo: FCC

Julius Genachowski knows he can’t please everyone.

In a candid interview with the senior editor of Fortune magazine posted this week, the chairman of the Federal Communications Commission said that sage piece of wisdom has helped to guide everything from FCC’s National Broadband plan to its controversial decision on Net neutrality rules.

“One of the things that I learned quickly in the job is that if you try to tackle policy issues by optimizing for what makes a particular group happy, you’ll fail,” Genachowski said. “Because … you can’t make everyone happy. There are many sides to these issues and what we have to do —  and this is our responsibility — is focus on getting the right answers to support the goals that we’ve articulated.”

As for the contentious Net neutrality regulations, the chairman said he “inherited a real mess,” because of the piecemeal approach the agency had taken before his tenure began.

“The agency had been enforcing net neutrality principles, but without ever adopting them as formal rules, and without any clarity on what the rules actually were,” he said. “ And it was a mess.  Companies in any part of the broadband economy didn’t have certainty.”

But FCC’s decision, contrary to some Internet service-providers’ protests, was actually a  business-friendly decision, he said. It amounted to a “framework to preserve the freedom and openness of the Internet that … has empowered both businesses and speakers,” he said, and has “also encouraged the massive amount of investment we need in the infrastructure to have high speed broadband.”

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