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FCC's McDowell: 'We Are Losing the Fight for Internet Freedom'

FCC commissioner Robert McDowell plans to tell Congress that
aggressive action is needed to stem that tide.

"We are losing the fight for Internet freedom," he
plans to tell members of the Senate Commerce Committee on Tuesday (March 12).
"Unless defenders of Internet freedom and prosperity act quickly, boldly
and imaginatively, this tragic trajectory will become irreversible," he
says, according to his prepared testimony for an FCC oversight hearing in the

He also plans to tell the committee he thinks the FCC 1)
should at least test how to apply, or not apply, traditional regulations to an
all-IP world (AT&T has asked the FCC for such test beds); 2) should do
nothing to restrict the pool of wireless bidders for broadcast
spectrum--including via de facto spectrum caps; 3) and modernize media
ownership rules, but not start applying local ownership caps to joint sales

McDowell has been saying the same thing about the international
Internet governance threat before and after the World Conference on
International Telecommunications telecom treaty conference in Dubai last
December -- he was in attendance -- were the U.S. delegation, joined by more
than four dozen allies, refused to sign on to the conference work product
because of Internet-related language.

McDowell had some advice for how to counter the trajectory
toward a top-down Internet governance model:

  1. "Defenders of Internet freedom must act quickly to turn
    the threat of increased intergovernmental control of the Internet into an
    opportunity to reverse course through liberalization of markets that will spark
    competition, investment and innovation;
  2. "We must offer other nations, especially those in the developing world
    that feel disenfranchised from Internet governance processes, an alternative to
    international regulation by improving and enhancing multi-stakeholder entities,
    such as the Internet Governance Forum ("IGF"); and
  3. "Congress can and should continue to play a constructive role by
    amplifying the call for more Internet freedom."