WASHINGTON (June 20, 2014) – Robert McDowell, former FCC Commissioner (2006 – 2013) and current Visiting Fellow at Hudson Institute, is testifying today before the United States House Committee on the Judiciary. The hearing – “Net Neutrality: Is Antitrust Law More Effective than Regulation in Protecting Consumers and Innovation” – comes as the FCC examines new “open Internet” rules.
McDowell argues that the Internet should remain open with minimal government regulation, as it has been since it was privatized in the mid-1990s. In stating “the Internet is the greatest deregulatory success story of all time,” McDowell opposes rules proposed by the FCC to reclassify the Internet as a utility service under Title II of the Telecommunications Act of 1996.
Attempts to do so, he states, “[ignore] the fact that a new body of regulations is not needed and may, in fact, cause harmful unintended consequences.” Supportive arguments, McDowell puts forth, include:
- Ample laws already exist to address any market failure and consumer harm;
- New rules will only spur international efforts to regulate the Internet; and
- Technology companies will become ensnared in “Title II” net neutrality.
McDowell concludes that “a better path would be to rely on time-tested antitrust and consumer protection laws, with their century-old precedent, that have helped make the American economy the strongest and most innovative in the world.”