Saying ‘Dubai’ to Open Internet?

The renegotiation of a 1988 treaty on the exchange of telecom traffic between various nations sounds at first blush like a home remedy for insomnia, but if you ask FCC commissioner Robert McDowell and an increasing number of regulators and telecom advisers, it is the next big Internet threat.

According to sources, the White House is convening a panel on Internet governance to look at the issue, and members of the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) are meeting in Geneva, Switzerland, at the end of this month to talk Web governance.

McDowell has taken the issue to the stump, featuring it prominently in two recent speeches, while FCC chairman Julius Genachowski last week said at the Flatirons broadband policy conference that while the union has made a positive difference, he was concerned about an ITU model of Internet governance. “Moving from a successful multi-stakeholder model to one of centralized mobile decision-making for the Internet would obviously be a mistake,” he said.

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John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.