Friday, June 8, 2012

FCC Commissioner says that the number one complaint to the FCC is “please regulate my rival”

Washington ( – A 2006 Bush appointee to the Federal Communication Commission and later reappointed by President Obama in 2009 as one of the four FCC commissioners said Tuesday that the number one complaint to the FCC is “please regulate my rival.”

“The most common request we get really at the FCC when you boil it down to its nub is ‘please regulate my rival,’” said Republican FCC Commissioner Robert McDowell. “And the subset of that is ‘please may I have some benefits, some regulatory benefit or rule that benefits just me and without any strings attached. No cost to me whatsoever.”

The commissioner went on to say that mindset is not only present domestically, in consumer complaints, but present internationally as well.

 “So there are some [telecommunications] carriers who are having a debate as to whether or not it could just slice open the ITRs just a little bit to have an international sanction,” McDowell said.

“To force, in effect, an international law, in order to be able to charge content or application providers, maybe under some sort of tariff regime or something that’s maybe more of a loose outline, but have the force and effect of an ITU or other international sanctions of law. So I think we need to be very careful of that.”

The ITRs, or the International Telecommunication Regulations, is a global treaty developed at the 1988 World Administrative and Telegraph and Telephone Conference, and has 178 countries’ signatures.

ITRs set principles regarding the ability to exchange and use information between telecommunications facilities, international telecommunications services and transport, and accounting for international voice traffic—the sum of international incoming and outgoing telephone traffic—between administrations.

The ITRs began when states had monopolies on telecommunications and before the rise of the internet. The internet is not currently within the scope of the ITRs.

However, several ITU member countries have moved toward more control over aspects of the internet and their proposals will have a hearing in December at the World Conference on International Telecommunications in Dubai.

The commissioner made his comments at a panel discussion on Capitol Hill on “What Role Should the UN Have in Governing the Internet?” – a discussion on some of the troubling regulatory proposals on the internet from some but not all of the 193 members states of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU).

The ITU is a specialized United Nation’s agency dealing with telecommunication.

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