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Robert McDowell Discusses FCC Internet Regulation Proposal with FOX Business

FOX Business, FOX News
February 6, 2015

Robert M. McDowell, a partner in Wiley Rein’s Communications Practice, was interviewed yesterday by FOX Business and FOX News about Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Tom Wheeler’s proposal to preserve the Internet as an open platform, by treating both wired and wireless data services as public utilities under Title II of the Communications Act of 1934.

Mr. McDowell, who served as an FCC commissioner from 2006 to 2013, said this proposal is the biggest change proposed “ever” for Internet regulation, and this is planting “a big seed in the Internet’s ecosphere.” 

This proposal, known as a “hybrid” approach to Title II, establishes a divide between “wholesale” and “retail” transactions, unlike previously proposed policies, which treated the Internet ecosphere as a single unit.  “This whole hybrid notion of Title II was really more of a marketing term; you can’t have a little bit of Title II, any more than you can have a little bit of Ebola, so you plant the big seed and regulation only grows, and it only gets worse from here on out,” Mr. McDowell said.

In response to a question about companies for or against Tom Wheeler’s proposal, Mr. McDowell said, “the lines are blurring.  Industry is moving on.  The law needs to be updated, more along the lines of how Congress is proposing right now.”