Genachowski denies discussing net neutrality with Obama

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Aside from that exchange, the hearing stuck to familiar ground with Republican FCC Commissioner Robert McDowell arguing the FCC's net-neutrality rules are unnecessary because the Department of Justice is authorized to address net-neutrality violations under existing antitrust laws. McDowell voted against the order in December.

"What this order has done is create confusion in the marketplace," McDowell said, adding that he disagrees with Genachowski's assertion that the business and venture capital communities are backing the commission's order.

McDowell noted the FTC also has the authority to intervene in instances of anti-competitive behavior from Internet service providers. He said the commission's order was based on shaky legal ground (Title I of the Communications Act) and could encounter similar problems to the FCC's previous attempt at enforcing net neutrality, which was overturned by the D.C. Circuit Court last year.

Genachowski responded that antitrust rules aren't enough to safeguard consumers, especially start-ups that lack the necessary resources to file an antitrust suit against ISPs for blocking their content.

"Having high-level, light-touch rules benefits the entire Internet ecosystem," Genachowski said.

McDowell said he favors a completely different approach, which would convene all of the non-governmental entities that currently govern the Internet and bring them together to spotlight allegations of anti-competitive conduct. He then proposed the government use antitrust laws to combat those instances.

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