FCC’s Chief Legal Advisor Steps Down
March 16, 2012

FCC’s Chief Legal Advisor Steps Down

Federal Communications Commission (FCC) senior counsel and chief legal adviser Amy Levine is leaving the agency, the agency announced on Wednesday.

Levine had been promoted to legal adviser to FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski in February 2011.

No specific reason was given for her departure beyond an FCC statement saying she is planning to "relocate from the Washington area.”

Genachowski praised Levine's work on the spectrum incentive auction deal in Congress.

“Amy brought to my office a rare combination of legislative expertise, policy know-how, and consensus-building. Among Amy´s accomplishments was her tireless dedication to working with Congress to see the historic incentive auctions legislation through its recent signing into law. It goes without saying that we´ll miss Amy deeply,” he said.

In addition to spectrum policy, Levine was involved in wireless and homeland security issues, and played a major role in the FCC's rejection last year of AT&T's bid to acquire T-Mobile on the grounds it would thwart competition.

Charles Mathias in the FCC´s Wireless Telecommunications Bureau will assume Levine´s role on an interim basis as acting senior counsel and legal adviser.

Separately, Genachowski praised on Thursday the creation of the FCC´s new ℠Leading by Advancing Digital´ (LEAD) Commission, which will be tasked with creating a blueprint for advancing the digital transition of education.

The FCC and Obama administration have been pushing broadband as an educational imperative through subsidies and incentives designed to build out high-speed networks to schools and facilitate a move from traditional textbooks to digital versions.

The Commission will solicit input from teachers, parents, school officials, technology leaders and others, and will be co-chaired by Columbia University President Lee Bollinger; James Coulter of TPG Capital; Former Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings and James Steyer, CEO of Common Sense Media, where Genachowski is a founding board member.

Genachowski and U.S. Department of Education Secretary Arne Duncan said the new Commission would help students and teachers achieve their full potential.

“I´m pleased these leaders are rising to the challenge Secretary Duncan and I set out to harness technology to help our students reach their full potential.  I´m confident the LEAD Commission´s blueprint will chart a course to ensure that education technology will help prepare students to compete in the 21st century global economy,” Genachowski said.

“It´s no exaggeration to say that technology is the new platform for learning. Technology isn´t an option that schools may or may not choose for their kids. Technological competency is a requirement for entry into the global economy — and the faster we embrace it — the more we maintain and secure our economic leadership in the 21st century,” said Secretary Duncan.

The Commission´s main goals are to develop a fact base of current efforts, key trends, cost implications and obstacles to the adoption of critical existing technologies.  LEAD will also investigate the ways in which technology has been a catalyst for improvement in other sectors, and the implications for teaching and learning.

Finally, the Commission will recommend the types of policies and funding mechanisms that may be needed to ensure that school systems can best utilize technology.

Additional information about the Commission can be found at http://www.leadcommission.org/.