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Commissioner McDowell's Statement RE: Today's Action at WCIT-12

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Released: December 13, 2012


News media Information 202 / 418-0500

Fax-On-Demand 202 / 418-2830

TTY 202/418-2555


Federal Communications Commission
445 12th Street, S.W.
Washington, D. C. 20554
This is an unofficial announcement of Commission action. Release of the full text of a Commission order
constitutes official action. See MCI v. FCC. 515 F 2d 385 (D.C. Circ 1974).

December 13, 2012
Brigid Calamis 202-418-2200




The following statement can be attributed to Commissioner Robert M. McDowell:
Today, America’s delegation to the World Conference on International
Telecommunications (WCIT), led by Ambassador Terry Kramer, stood strong for
Internet freedom when it proclaimed that it would not sign new international rules
that capture the Internet. Our delegation’s resolve should be commended.
Unfortunately, a majority of the International Telecommunication Union’s (ITU)
Member States, including many countries that purportedly support Internet
freedom, chose to discard long-standing international consensus to keep the
Internet insulated from intergovernmental regulation. By agreeing to broaden the
scope of the ITU’s rules to include the Internet, encompassing its operations and
content, these nations have radically undermined the highly successful, private
sector, non-governmental, multi-stakeholder model of Internet governance.
Even though the United States refused to sign the new agreement, what happened
today in Dubai could have ripple effects here at home. Consumers everywhere
will ultimately pay the price for this power grab as engineers and entrepreneurs
try to navigate this new era of an internationally politicized Internet. If this
assault on Internet freedom continues unabated, consumers’ prices will rise while
investment and innovation will stall.
As egregious as today’s action was, many of the anti-freedom proposals were
turned back - but the worst is yet to come. The United States should immediately
prepare for an even more treacherous ITU treaty negotiation that will take place in
2014 in Korea. Those talks could expand the ITU’s reach even further.
Accordingly, Internet freedom’s allies everywhere should more than redouble
their efforts to erase the damage that was wrought today. Freedom and prosperity
are at stake. Let’s never be slow to respond again. Freedom’s foes are patient
and persistent incrementalists. They will never give up. Nor should we.
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