Robert M. McDowell
Rob McDowell advises telecommunications, media and technology clients on their most significant regulatory, legal and business matters. As a former commissioner of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and a highly regarded industry leader, Rob has been at the forefront of the most complex and groundbreaking issues facing telecommunications.
Rob was first appointed to the FCC by President George W. Bush in 2006 and again by President Obama in 2009. He was unanimously confirmed both times by the US Senate. During his tenure, Rob led efforts to expand consumer access to spectrum through his work on the two largest wireless auctions in US history at the time, played a key role in the 2009 digital television transition and led efforts to establish the first federal civil rights rule in a generation by creating a ban on racially discriminatory practices in broadcast advertising.
While at the FCC, Rob also worked extensively on several large and complex mergers, including: Sirius/XM; Comcast/NBC-Universal; Verizon/AllTel; AT&T/Dobson; Sprint/Clearwire; Verizon/SpectrumCO and AT&T/T-Mobile. At Cooley, he represents clients on transformative deals before the FCC, Congress, the White House and other regulatory bodies, including advising T-Mobile regarding its merger with Sprint and Gray in its combination with Raycom. Rob advises a broad array of telecom, media and technology clients, including subsea cable authorizations, spectrum allocations and competition issues.
Rob is an advocate for internet freedom, serving on the US delegation to the 2012 World Conference on International Telecommunications and exposing an international bid to regulate vital aspects of the Internet through multilateral treaty-based organizations. Rob authored an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal opposing multilateral internet regulation that led to a resolution passed unanimously in the House and Senate, as well as the ultimate defeat of the international bid at a treaty negation in Dubai later that year.
Rob is often called upon for speaking engagements and frequently appears on TV and radio. He has written opinion pieces for many publications, including the Wall Street Journal and Washington Post.