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Patricia O'Connell
Senior Communications Manager

Robert McDowell Widely Quoted in Coverage of President’s Net Neutrality Push

Bloomberg TV, Financial Times, FOX, L.A. Times
November 13, 2014

Robert M. McDowell, a partner in Wiley Rein’s Communications Practice, has been widely quoted in this week’s continuing media coverage of President Obama’s call for the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to issue restrictive net neutrality rules.  Mr. McDowell served as an FCC commissioner from 2006 to 2013, during which he voted against the agency’s two previous attempts to issue net neutrality rules.

The President’s desire to regulate the Internet as a public utility under Title II of the 1934 Communications Act “is already starting to seize up investment” in companies that provide broadband service, Mr. McDowell said during a segment that aired yesterday on FOX Business.

In an interview with Bloomberg TV, he noted that “the markets are really being roiled by this 80-year-old statute ... being retrofitted onto a completely different market—a completely different set of technologies that we call the Internet.”  Although the FCC is an independent agency, Mr. McDowell said in yesterday’s Los Angeles Times that President Obama’s push for a tougher regulatory approach is likely to have some influence.

Adopting net neutrality rules would be a mistake because “nothing is broken that needs fixing here,” he said today on KCRW’s syndicated To the Point radio program.  He was also quoted by the Financial Times and Communications Daily in this week’s coverage, and was featured in an interview on the POTUS Politics channel’s Midday Briefing on SiriusXM satellite radio.