House members have released a draft bill that would make it U.S. policy to promote a global Internet "free from government control."
Several lawmakers asked what next steps U.S. policymakers and Internet freedom activists should take as diplomats face more Internet governance meetings in May and in 2014.
McDowell and other hearing witnesses called on representatives of the U.S. government to help developing nations engage in current Internet governance organizations as a way to head off efforts to create international regulations through the ITU.
Developing nations need to feel more involved in current multistakeholder groups that address Internet governance issues, said Sally Shipman Wentworth, senior manager of public policy for the Internet Society. U.S. and international Internet groups should also work with developing nations to help them build Internet infrastructure and expertise in their countries, she said.
"Dating back to the earliest days of the Internet's development, there was a keen recognition that, to be truly successful, the Internet needed advocates around the world that could sustain and build Internet infrastructure and, in doing so, would expand the Internet to their local communities -- whether in Silicon Valley or at a local university in Kenya," she said.
Grant Gross covers technology and telecom policy in the U.S. government for The IDG News Service. Follow Grant on Twitter at GrantGross. Grant's e-mail address is email@example.com.