RELEASE: Mobile Future’s McDowell Testifies before House Judiciary Committee, Argues Existing Antitrust and Competition Laws Can Safeguard Open Internet

November 1, 2017

WASHINGTON, DC –Mobile Future’s Chief Public Policy Advisor, Robert M. McDowell, testified today before the U.S. House Committee on the Judiciary and Subcommittee on Regulatory Reform, Commercial and Antitrust Law’s hearing on “Net Neutrality and the Role of Antitrust.”

McDowell argued that the Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) are the best equipped regulatory bodies to address market failures effectively and to protect consumers from harm, a legal framework which will unleash the potential of next generation mobile networks.

“Reclassification of broadband services as ‘telecommunications services’ under Title II has caused market and regulatory uncertainty, consumer confusion, and inhibited investment,” McDowell testified. “The FCC, however, is poised to reverse its anomalous 2015 Title II Order as early as next month. By doing so, it will restore the FTC’s jurisdiction and make clear that time-tested antitrust and competition laws will continue to apply thus giving market players in the Internet ecosphere the certainty and freedom to invest, innovate, and prosper. History has proven that the policing of Internet markets by the DOJ and FTC produces the best results for all involved, especially consumers.”

Mobile and fixed broadband deployment and usage has seen exponential growth, thanks to a historically light touch approach to government regulation that allows entrepreneurs the freedom to take risks. The FCC radically departed from that long-standing consensus in the 2015 Title II Order. Restoring a hands-off approach at the FCC will produce the explosion of entrepreneurial brilliance, enhanced consumer welfare, and economic benefits that have made the Internet the greatest American success story.

In his testimony, McDowell argued that the FCC also must take the opportunity to reaffirm that broadband Internet access is fundamentally an interstate service – and cannot be subjected to a byzantine patchwork of state and local laws. Attempting to regulate the borderless and global Internet on a state-by-state basis is a recipe for disaster that could wreak havoc on the digital and mobile economy.

An environment conducive for mobile innovation and investment is increasingly critical as the wireless industry prepares to take the next great leap forward to the rapid deployment of 5G. These next-generation networks hold revolutionary potential to expand digital age opportunity like never before. Lightning speed connectivity will enable everything from smart infrastructure that makes our cities safer, to autonomous vehicles that expand access to transportation for seniors and Americans with disabilities. The success of 5G is dependent on the ability of network providers to experiment and innovate, which can only be done with the right legal and policy framework.