McDowell Welcomes New Openness at FCC, Calls for Audit and Reform

FCC, National Broadband Plan August 7th, 2009

, Reporter-Researcher,

WASHINGTON, August 7, 2009 — In addition to the forthcoming National Broadband Strategy, The Federal Communications Commission must reorganize fundamentally to tackle  a laundry list of 21st-century issues, Commissioner Robert McDowell said in an interview with C-SPAN’s “The Communicators” series.

Issues that the FCC will likely tackle include network management, wireless handset exclusivity, and possibly forays into cybersecurity, he said. But the broadband plan reigns supreme on the agenda, he said.

“This is the biggest plan the FCC has worked on since the 1996 Communications Act,” he said. And the commission should take care to recognize that technology should be regulated in a way that adapts to innovation that occurs  in “internet time,” he said.

And any national strategy should foster “an environment that’s attractive to private capital investment,” McDowell said, reiterating his well-known pro-competitive position.  He expressed optimism that the broadband plan could boost the country out of its’ economic funk.

“Tech and telecom are well poised to help bring this country out of the recession right now, versus the earlier recession with the dotcom bubble bursting as a cause of that recession,” he said. “I think it’s the flip side right now.”

McDowell also welcomed  the FCC’s new mandate of transparency, collaboration and openness that has been prolmugated by new chairman Julius Genachowski. He suggested one possible change in the commission’s operations could be a reinterpretation of “sunshine rules” that often keep commissioners from conducting business.

McDowell has proposed a full operational, financial, and ethical audit of the FCC. “How can we do better?” he asked.

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