FCC's McDowell: Hands off the Internet
Robert McDowell, a member of the Federal Communications Commission, penned the following editorial in The Washington Post. Weigh in with your thoughts!
A federal appeals court ruled this week that Congress never granted the Federal Communications Commission authority to impose "network management" regulations on Internet service providers and that the FCC's overly "expansive view" of its power did not merely strain the outer limits of its authority but "seeks to shatter them entirely." In real terms, this rebukes the commission for its effort to order high-speed Internet service providers such as Comcast to treat equally all traffic that flows through their pipelines.
Despite this defeat, the FCC might still try to regulate the Internet under century-old rules made for railroads and Ma Bell phone monopolies. This mistaken effort would hinder recent successes in deploying broadband throughout the country.
While the U.S. economy has shrunk substantially over the past two years, the Internet sector has flourished. Increasingly, our commerce and culture ride on the rails of high-speed, or "broadband," Internet access. But this success was not inevitable.
The Clinton administration set today's "hands-off" policy when the Internet was privatized in the mid-1990s. Amid the rubble of the dot-com bust, in 2002 the FCC sought to energize the nascent broadband sector by formally insulating the Internet from regulation. The commission classified broadband as unregulated "information services," establishing a framework that was designed to attract the investment of risk capital, foster competition, lower prices, fuel innovation and increase consumer adoption.
Read here for full piece.
April 9, 2010; 10:00 AM ET
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