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Robert McDowell Co-Authors Wall Street Journal Column on FCC Plan to Regulate Internet

The Wall Street Journal
February 20, 2015

Robert M. McDowell, a partner in Wiley Rein’s Communications Practice, warned in a February 17 Wall Street Journal opinion column that the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) latest Internet regulation plan “puts global Internet freedom and prosperity in jeopardy and fatally undermines decades of bipartisan consensus on America’s foreign policy for the Internet.”  Mr. McDowell co-authored the column with Gordon M. Goldstein, managing director at the global technology investment firm Silver Lake Partners.

The authors noted that President Obama has said “the strongest possible” laws are needed to prevent Internet service providers from acting in anticompetitive ways, and that FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler has said he would align his proposals with the White House.

“This represents a stunning reversal of the policies of the Clinton and Bush administrations, Mr. McDowell and Mr. Goldstein wrote.  “Both presidencies pursued a highly successful ‘hands-off’ approach toward the Internet and argued that the dynamic network should not be regulated like a public utility domestically or internationally.”

Mr. McDowell, who served as an FCC commissioner from 2006 to 2013, voted against the agency’s two previous attempts to issue net neutrality rules.   

“The Obama administration is signaling to the world that more government regulation of the Internet should be the norm,” the authors said.  “The Obama Administration and its FCC have chosen a perilous moment to reverse decades of bipartisan agreement to limit Internet regulation.”

The column  can be found here.