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FCC’s Genachowski plans to resign

NEW YORK — Julius Genachowski, the Federal Communications Commission chairman since June 2009, who set out ambitious plans to expand broadband Internet service throughout the country and to free up additional airwaves for sale to cellphone companies, said Friday he would leave the commission within weeks.

No successor has been named.

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Genachowski’s departure, which follows the resignation earlier this week of Robert M. McDowell, a Republican commissioner since 2006, will leave the agency with only three of five board spots filled, although Democrats will retain a 2-to-1 majority.

Both resignations had been expected since the reelection of President Obama, although the timing had been in doubt because of the chairman’s desire not to leave the commission with a 2-to-2 split between Republicans and Democrats.

Genachowski leaves a number of his highest priorities unfinished.

The FCC is in the process of drawing up a plan to make additional high-value airwaves, sometimes called spectrum, available for sale to cellphone companies for use in wireless broadband Internet service.

The plan hinges on the commission’s ability to persuade television broadcasters to give up some of their airwaves in exchange for some portion of the sale proceeds.

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