March 30, 2006 4:26 PM PST

Democrats attack new bill over Net neutrality

WASHINGTON--Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives on Thursday assailed a new telecommunications bill for allegedly failing to preserve Net neutrality principles.

The Republican-backed proposal unveiled this week would give the Federal Communications Commission the authority to go after individual violations of end-to-end connectivity principles, but it does not include a weighty set of regulations that all broadband providers must follow.

But that's not nearly sufficiently regulatory, the Democrats charged, pointing to the section of the measure that prohibits the FCC from making any new rules related to Net neutrality. Many technology firms, including Microsoft and Google, have also backed more regulations.

Net neutrality, also known as network neutrality, is the idea that the companies that own the broadband pipes should not be able to configure their networks in a way that plays favorites--allowing them, for example, to transmit their own services at faster speeds, or to charge Net content and application companies a fee for equally fast delivery.

"The bill before us effectively condones online discrimination and ties the hands of the FCC," Rep. Edward Markey, a Massachusetts Democrat, said at a lengthy hearing that included testimony from the telecommunications, cable, broadcast and Internet sectors.

Telecommunications and cable executives say they deserve the right to create a tiered Internet system. A two-tiered system could, for instance, guarantee that all Web sites would be accessible, but prioritize streaming video provided by the pipe's owner or business partner.

Michigan Democrat John Dingell saw the fees in a different light, saying they amounted to "private taxation of the Internet" an idea that he said troubled him.

"The ones that get hurt are the young innovators, the garage innovators, the small-business innovators, the ones that have not achieved the great success of the Googles of the world," added Rep. Jay Inslee, a Washington Democrat.

Rep. Rick Boucher, a Virginia Democrat, suggested that the bill would benefit from "a provision that says that if a fast lane is necessary, perhaps for video or for gaming, then all applications of a similar kind...should be entitled to fast-lane access without having to pay a charge."

But one of the new bill's chief sponsors, Texas Republican Joe Barton, said he still didn't think it necessary to impose more specific Net neutrality regulations until the feuding parties can agree on a definition of the concept. (In a conference call with reporters on Wednesday, Barton dismissed concerns about Net neutrality as overblown.)

Barton polled each of eight speakers appearing on the first panel at Thursday's hearing for a "concise verbal definition" and, after receiving an array of responses, implored them to "let your lawyers work on it and send it to us in writing."

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8 comments

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It's over
America the Slow will be the new reality. Look to Scandinavia, Asia, Brazil and current 3rd-world countries for innovation and fast access.

Congress: Representation of the rich, for the rich, by the rich.
Posted by ordaj (338 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Beureaucratic Bunglers
The last thing we need is more regulations and red tape slowing down broadband growth yet again. The government should keep it's pork-grimed mits off the internet.

<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www.cagw.org" target="_newWindow">http://www.cagw.org</a>
Posted by freemarket--2008 (5058 comments )
Reply Link Flag
that isn't the point
What the government is "atempting" to do is to stop Broadband Provider A from charging Content Provider B extra money so that their data will be transmitted at the fastest rate it can.

This would be akin to Microsoft making it such that all search requests done from a microsoft based system MUST use MSN for their searches otherwise it would take 10x as long to get the results.

What if some one at one of these broadband providers didn't like your personal website ( for whatever reason - It gets too much traffic) and degraded access to your site for everyone. But if you paid them more money, you could get normal access again.

Is that what you really want the internet providers to do ?

We already pay our ISP's for our connection. Our ISP's already pay backbone providers.

Companies like Google pay for their bandwidth to their ISP and that ISP pays for their bandwidth to the backbone providers.

Do you really think that backbone providers should be allowed to charge companies that are already paying for their bandwidth JUST for the privilege of having their data transmitted at a normal rate instead of being degrated ?
Posted by Sir Geek (114 comments )
Link Flag
Beureaucratic Bunglers
The last thing we need is more regulations and red tape slowing down broadband growth yet again. The government should keep it's pork-grimed mits off the internet.

<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www.cagw.org" target="_newWindow">http://www.cagw.org</a>
Posted by freemarket--2008 (5058 comments )
Reply Link Flag
that isn't the point
What the government is "atempting" to do is to stop Broadband Provider A from charging Content Provider B extra money so that their data will be transmitted at the fastest rate it can.

This would be akin to Microsoft making it such that all search requests done from a microsoft based system MUST use MSN for their searches otherwise it would take 10x as long to get the results.

What if some one at one of these broadband providers didn't like your personal website ( for whatever reason - It gets too much traffic) and degraded access to your site for everyone. But if you paid them more money, you could get normal access again.

Is that what you really want the internet providers to do ?

We already pay our ISP's for our connection. Our ISP's already pay backbone providers.

Companies like Google pay for their bandwidth to their ISP and that ISP pays for their bandwidth to the backbone providers.

Do you really think that backbone providers should be allowed to charge companies that are already paying for their bandwidth JUST for the privilege of having their data transmitted at a normal rate instead of being degrated ?
Posted by Sir Geek (114 comments )
Link Flag
The good 'ole days...
Big rig drivers or anyone with a CB are about the only people out there who have somewhat free access to the airwaves - that is, if they can find a freed up frequency. The FCC is a notorious regulator, and it looks like we're going down a similar path with the internet. It's becoming a case of the have's and have not's, with the big guys getting all the options, and the small guy losing out due to budget constraints. Whatever happened to government works to support the little guy in business?

Keep looking to the technology out there that supports the small business sector: <a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www.essentialsecurity.com/Documents/article6.htm" target="_newWindow">http://www.essentialsecurity.com/Documents/article6.htm</a>
Posted by 209979377489953107664053243186 (71 comments )
Reply Link Flag
The good 'ole days...
Big rig drivers or anyone with a CB are about the only people out there who have somewhat free access to the airwaves - that is, if they can find a freed up frequency. The FCC is a notorious regulator, and it looks like we're going down a similar path with the internet. It's becoming a case of the have's and have not's, with the big guys getting all the options, and the small guy losing out due to budget constraints. Whatever happened to government works to support the little guy in business?

Keep looking to the technology out there that supports the small business sector: <a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www.essentialsecurity.com/Documents/article6.htm" target="_newWindow">http://www.essentialsecurity.com/Documents/article6.htm</a>
Posted by 209979377489953107664053243186 (71 comments )
Reply Link Flag
It's over
America the Slow will be the new reality. Look to Scandinavia, Asia, Brazil and current 3rd-world countries for innovation and fast access.

Congress: Representation of the rich, for the rich, by the rich.
Posted by ordaj (338 comments )
Reply Link Flag
 

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