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US: Former FCC chief opposes net neutrality rules

 |  June 23, 2014

The former head of the Federal Communications Commission testified before a judiciary committee in Congress last Friday on the topic of net neutrality, reports say.

Robert McDowell, who headed the FCC from 2006 to 2013, made the case for rejecting the FCC’s recent Internet regulation proposals and instead promoting minimal government intervention in Internet rulemaking.

McDowell called the Internet “the greatest deregulatory success story of all time” as he opposed the FCC’s proposed rules that would reclassify Internet as a utility service; doing so would ignore “the fact that a new body of regulations is not needed and may, in fact, cause harmful unintended consequences.”

McDowell’s remarks were made before the House Committee on the Judiciary for its hearing “Net Neutrality: Is Antitrust Law More Effective Than Regulation in Protecting Consumers and Innovation.”

Controversy has been stirring on Capitol Hill over the FCC’s regulatory proposals, the latest of which would allow Internet service providers to charge content providers for faster content delivery. Critics of the rules say they could harm competition.

Generally, Democrats support FCC intervention in regulating the Internet; Republicans, however, argue antitrust law is sufficient to promote competition and agency intervention should be minimal.

The latter is the viewpoint of McDowell, who argued new FCC rules would encourage international regulation of the Internet and current legislation already protects against consumer harm and market failure.

Full content: Internet IT Business

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