FCC Chairman William E. Kennard has announced his resignation, effective January 19. Kennard, a Democrat, said he leaves the office with great pride in the FCC's accomplishments and with deep gratitude for having had an opportunity to serve the American public. Kennard's resignation was expected once the AOL-Time Warner merger received FCC approval. That happened January 11. It's been widely speculated that President-Elect George W. Bush will name Republican FCC commissioner Michael Powell--the son of Secretary of State-Designate Gen Colin Powell--to replace Kennard as FCC chairman. The agency's first African-American chairman, Kennard presided over the FCC during a period when the FCC implemented historic legislation to bring competition to communications markets. During his three-year tenure, Kennard promoted competition and consumer choice in the telecommunications marketplace, encouraged the rollout of broadband and digital technologies, expanded access to technology and streamlined and revamped the FCC. In implementing the 1996 Telecommunications Act, Kennard said he aimed to create a marketplace where ''monopoly is ended, innovation and entrepreneurship are cherished, and consumers have competitive choice.'' Kennard made bridging the Digital Divide a top priority. During his tenure, the FCC successfully implemented the E-Rate program, which connected 95 percent of the nation's schools and more than one million classrooms to the Internet. ''We must bring the benefits of the Digital Age to all Americans,'' said Kennard. ''From the business districts to the barrios, from those with every advantage to those with disabilities, from the young to the old, from suburban enclaves to the rural heartland.'' His achievements include establishing a Disabilities Rights Office at the FCC, bringing new telephone service to over one million low-income Native Americans on tribal lands, and creating a new low-power radio service for school, church, and community use. For the next few months, Kennard will serve as a senior fellow of the Aspen Institute Communications and Society Program in Washington, DC.