Skip to main content

McDowell Provides Title II History Lesson to Hill

FCC Commissioner Robert McDowell provided the
promised evidentiary support for his difference of opinion with House Energy
& Commerce Committee Chairman Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) over broadband

At a March 25 oversight hearing, McDowell took
issue with the assertion that if the FCC changed the broadband regulatory
classification from a Title I information to a Title II telecommunications
service it would be a return to previous policy.

He testified that broadband Internet had never been
classified as a Title II telecom service, and promised Waxman he would follow
up with his reasoning.

In a letter dated May 5, McDowell provided a
summary of the history of broadband classification that he said demonstrated
that the FCC "consistently held that any provider of information services
could do so pursuant to Title I."

The letter may have crossed another one in the
ether from Waxman to FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski telling him to consider
Title II reclassification as a response to the D.C. federal appeals court
decision throwing out the FCC's Comcast/BitTorrent ruling and calling its
authority to regulate broadband network management into question.

The issue is heating up as the commission prepares
its legal response to the BitTorrent decision. The chairman has pledged to find
a solid legal foundation for network neutrality and the national broadband plan.