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AT&T: Admin Needs Consistent Net Governance Message - Broadcasting & Cable

AT&T: Admin Needs Consistent Net Governance Message

Says actions by the FCC may be undermining the effort to combat an ITU model of Internet governance and providing ammunition to opponents of the U.S. position
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Jim
Cicconi, senior EVP at AT&T in Washington Tuesday suggested the
administration was sending a bit of a mixed message about Internet regulation.

At
a Free State Foundation summit panel on whether the Internet would remain free
from the type of public utility regulation many feared when the FCC proposed a
Title II regime for network openness, Cicconi praised the Obama Administration
for sending a signal to ITU not to adopt a government-control model for the
global Internet. But he suggested it might not be sending the same message to
the folks back home. "Since the Obama administration argues that
foreign government intervention regulation will hurt the Internet globally, our
own FCC must accept that proposition at home."

As
examples of where the FCC might be engaging in some do as I say not as I do, he
cited the fact that the Title II docket remained open, and the FCC's mandate of
data roaming.

In
a speech to the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona last month, FCC Chairman
Julius Genachowski reiterated his opposition to creating a new international
regulatory body
to govern the Internet
-- there are fears, expressed
repeatedly by FCC Commissioner Robert McDowell -- that the upcoming
renegotiating of an international telecom treaty could result in an ITU-centric
Internet governance model. Genachowski agrees that the multistakeholder approach
to the 'net is best.

But
Cicconi said that some actions by the FCC may be undermining the effort to
combat an ITU model of Internet governance and providing ammunition to
opponents of the U.S. position. "We need
to sink up our actions with our own policies," he said.

Speaking
about regulation in general, Cicconi said that the FCC is in denial about the
level of competition, using as an example its release of a satellite
competition report that refused to recognize competition. Rick Whitt of Google,
who was on a panel with Cicconi, suggested that every regulation should sunset
that would require defending and justifying it before it could be renewed.

Summing
up the panel, moderator Deborah Taylor Tate, adjunct fellow at the foundation
and a former FCC commissioner, said that the idea was not that there should be
no regulation, but that the government should take a light hand and be
technology agnostic.

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