Genachowski: No New Antitrust Laws Needed On 'Net Openness

McDowell: Rules were unnecessary fix of unbroken system
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Democratic FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski will take
to The Hill Thursday to defend his new network-neutrality rules, while Senior
Republican Commissioner Robert McDowell will count the ways he thinks they were
unnecessary and counterproductive.

That is according to a copy of their prepared testimony,
obtained by B&C, for the second
of two hearings in the subcommittee on net-neutrality rules.

In his first appearance before the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Intellectual
Property, Competition, and the Internet, scheduled for Thursday, May
5, Genachowski will defend his network-neutrality compromise rules, saying
the FCC achieved a "strong and balanced" framework that is good for
all sides.

Suggesting a Goldilocks-like resolution of competing
offerings and interests, he says: "Some people think the framework we
adopted doesn't go far enough, and others think it goes too far. I believe it
gets it right."

To undo that framework, as a House Republican-backed
resolution of disapproval aims to accomplish, "would increase uncertainty,
decrease investment, and hurt job creation."

Speaking to the antitrust issue, he said he does not
think that antitrust laws alone could preserve an open Internet or provide the
regulatory certainty he says was another aim of the rules. He also argued
against adopting new antitrust laws on Internet openness, saying that would be a
"problematic approach, ill-suited to the fast-changing nature of Internet
technology."

He said he agreed with the Supreme Court that,
"while statutes are hard to change in light of new developments in network
technology or markets, expert administrative agencies have flexible processes
for dealing with the unexpected and are, accordingly, better suited for
handling this particular issue."

McDowell suggested the FCC majority--neither he nor his
fellow Republican commissioner voted for the rules--got it all wrong on network
neutrality.

Why? "Nothing is broken in the broadband Internet
access market that needs fixing; Congress never gave the FCC the legal
authority to act as it did; The order is likely to cause more harm than good;
and, sufficient antitrust and consumer protection laws exist to prevent and
cure any of the contemplated harms outlined in the order," he said, while
giving the chairman props for a number of other broadband related initiatives.

McDowell and the chairman did agree on one thing, which
is that 95% of the time they agree. That is the percentage of FCC decisions
that are unanimous, a figure they both invoked in their testimony as a testament
to the general bipartisanship that is the norm.

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