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FCC Commissioner McDowell to Leave FCC
Tenure Highlights: Ignoring Competitive Issues & Ignoring Competitive Issues
by Karl Bode 02:59PM Wednesday Mar 20 2013
Republican FCC Commissioner Robert McDowell today announced that he'll be leaving the FCC for an unspecified job elsewhere. McDowell was the likely front-runner to lead the FCC if Romney had won the election. McDowell's greatest hits since 2006 include an editorial insisting the country has no broadband coverage issues, proclaiming the Internet would collapse if Comcast was held accountable for throttling upstream P2P traffic and lying to customers, and conflating network neutrality with the fairness doctrine for political effect.

Like current FCC boss and Democrat Julius Genachowski, McDowell was a stalwart believer in the fact that the current U.S. broadband market doesn't have any competitive issues that really need fixing. In McDowell's mind, any competitive issues are magically and organically fixed by the "free market," ignoring of course it's not a free market when those giant companies enjoy regulatory capture and literally write state-by-state telecom law designed to keep competition at bay.

Obviously you'll get a significantly different report card on McDowell if you ask Comcast's top lobbyist David Cohen, even if such breathless gushing from a lobbyist should speak volumes:
"Commissioner McDowell has been an exemplary public servant," said David Cohen, EVP, Comcast Corporation. "His wisdom, practicality and hard work all contribute to the widespread respect that everyone has for him. Commissioner McDowell’s tireless efforts to promote a free and unregulated Internet, reform Universal Service and keep the U.S. at the forefront of International telecommunications policy are just a few of his many notable accomplishments.
The biggest thing McDowell did for consumers was perhaps to help support his fellow FCC members' support for White Space broadband. However, like all too many FCC Commissioners from both parties, his tenure at the FCC is most notable for his particular skill at denial. McDowell's departure comes as the agency loses Sherrese Smith, chief counsel and legal adviser to Genachowski, and within a few months -- Genachowski himself.

topics flat nest 

Tavistock NJ

1 edit

So, who takes his place?

The usual possibilities - aides to Republican Committee members with power in the House & Senate.

Among the names immediately surfacing as possible successors to McDowell: Neil Fried, senior telecommunications counsel to the House Energy and Commerce Committee; Ray Baum, former Oregon Public Utility Commission chairman and current top adviser to House Communications Subcommittee Chair Greg Walden (R-Ore.); Michael O'Rielly, a staffer with Senate Republican John Cornyn (Tex.); and former Scripps Networks Chief Legal Officer A.B. Cruz, who is Latino and whose name also surfaced for the Republican seat eventually taken by Ajit Pai.

»www.linkedin.com/pub/ray-baum/30 ··· /ab7/153
»www.scrippsnetworksinteractive.c ··· .14.aspx

united state

Praise from comcast?

He'll be working at comcast in a few months.

West Tenness

Can we have news not commentary?

Also I still have yet to see any explanation for the "we need more competition" crowd as to how the FCC is supposed to have accomplish that. As I said last time I look every area has ONE cable company and ONE telco. You're never going to have 2 or more cable companies to 2 or more telcos in an area. Just is not going to happen. No company will go out the expense of that for maybe 30% of a market at best. And who wants 15 companies all digging up your yard putting down their infrastructure? So I can have "choices"?

Evanston, IL

Re: Can we have news not commentary?

how about just getting rid of franchise agreements?

done in one. gtfo.

West Tenness

Re: Can we have news not commentary?

said by dfxmatt:

how about just getting rid of franchise agreements?

done in one. gtfo.

How would that solve anything?


Oregon City, OR

Re: Can we have news not commentary?

Oh, I guess just put all the company's on one giant cable, duh?
Thank god Alf Goore gave us all the "must carry law" Plenty of band width for home shopping.

Thanks Guberment


I don't pretend to have the whole answer to this, just some thoughts to ponder that the FCC CAN consider, even if they've shot it down in the past:

1) If only one cable company is allowed in town, then force them to allow resale of their facilities, similar to what is done with copper lines for CLEC's, at reasonable chargeback rates.

2) Cap profits: again a model from telco times. 30 years ago, the monopoly Telcos were only allowed to make a reasonable profit, and it was capped at something that was considered reasonable at the time. Cable Co's don't seem to have anything like this, so a 15% shareholder profit this year is good, which means next year is has to be 18%, and 21% the year after that.

3) Cap rate increases to something reasonable, which would tie into capping profits.

4) Mandate a basic service offering, again like what was done for the original lifeline telco services. Something like a 1.5/.75 for $20/month.

5) Interesting note: seems that cable co's are not held to the same 911 standard of service that traditional telcos are held to. To the point that now Comcast doesn't consider a brief battery backup in the modems as a requirement. Nor do they seem to care anymore if their HFC power inserters go without power for days at a time during a power outage. At one time, they used to make a reasonable effort to address both of these items; HFC power inserters by using temporary generators.
Expand your moderator at work

Hazelwood, MO
Forced line sharing.

I would agree 100% that we dont want 15 companies all digging up our yard. So instead how about we have 1 company that does it and then both the cable company and the telco along with all others that want to service you get to run over that same line at the same price?



'McDowell was the likely front-runner to lead the FCC if Romney had one the election'

Bedford, MA
·Verizon FiOS

Cushy job..

waiting for him at one of the companies he was supposedly regulating. Sort of post-job bribery I think. Naturally he will say this did not have any effect on his performance while working for the FCC.

Never ceases to amaze me that these people working for government agencies and Congressmen get high paying no work jobs after leaving government jobs. Ethics are a total joke to these people.

West Tenness

Re: Cushy job..

This has been going on for about oh 230+ years.

Snohomish, WA
said by old_wiz_60:

Never ceases to amaze me that these people working for government agencies and Congressmen get high paying no work jobs after leaving government jobs. Ethics are a total joke to these people.

The another choice is to have regulators who never have and never will be in a given industry, ie have even less of a clue then a congressman as to how things should work
OR they could all be lawyers and even less would get done.
or they could be well meaning but clueless do gooders protecting us from those over technical engineering people and the wrong things will get "fixed" (or broken, depending on if you like somewhat technically competent service at somewhat reasonable rates, kinda like we have now )
Face it, democracies and bureaucracies aren't really efficientcy models and rarely yield the "BEST" or the "CHEAPEST" products but they do allow choices.
I believe the word "TYRANNY" is what we need to use.

The only thing that will solve the problem is to literally throw the entire bunch out. I'm not talking about just the same old fake two party system phonies, but literally we need to expel the entire mass of the system. Our government is "occupied" by a criminal infrastructure, that is why the Founding Fathers gave us the Second Amendment.

A royal flush is what we need.

De gustibus non est disputandum
Litchfield Park, AZ

Same Old Same Old

Politicians are pond scum and political appointees are pond scum shit.
My perception is REALITY

King P
Don't blame me. I voted for Ron Paul
Murfreesboro, TN


McDowell was largely useless any way. Good riddance to bad rubbish, as they say.
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