Inside net neutrality with FCC Commissioner Robert M. McDowell


For a commissioner's perspective on these complex issues, Network World asked Hugh Carter Donahue, a communications policy expert and scholar, to pose questions to Federal Communications Commissioner Robert M. McDowell about the net  neutrality proceeding.

If you'd like to follow-up, McDowell's e-mail is, Donahue's e-mail is

You were a great proponent of competition in local telecommunications markets earlier on when you worked at Comptel promoting competitive communications services. What similarities exist with your policy views regarding competitive local phone markets and net neutrality?

During my career, I have always tried to find ways to ensure that consumers have choices. That was the goal in my previous job and has been my theme as a commissioner. Specifically, I have sought ways to increase last mile connections. And, looking at the current marketplace, American consumers have more choices in last mile providers now than ever before. As a commissioner, I have made it a priority to encourage the commission to adopt policies that create opportunities for the construction of new delivery platforms. More often than not, I have tried to approach these goals using deregulatory incentives. For example, over the past couple years, the FCC has classified broadband as less regulated "information services" under Title I of the Communications Act. As we move forward with proceedings emanating from the National Broadband Plan, I work towards finding ways to continue this trend.

Why is the Commission initiating a net neutrality rule making now?