April 5, 2006 3:07 PM PDT

Republicans defeat Net neutrality proposal

A partisan divide pitting Republicans against Democrats on the question of Internet regulation appears to be deepening.

A Republican-controlled House Energy and Commerce subcommittee on Wednesday defeated a proposal that would have levied extensive regulations on broadband providers and forcibly prevented them from offering higher-speed video services to partners or affiliates.

By an 8-to-23 margin, the committee members rejected a Democratic-backed "Net neutrality" amendment to a current piece of telecommunications legislation. The amendment had attracted support from companies including Amazon.com, eBay, Google, Microsoft and Yahoo, and their chief executives wrote a last-minute letter to the committee on Wednesday saying such a change to the legislation was "critical."

Before the vote, amendment sponsor Rep. Ed Markey, a Massachusetts Democrat, assailed his Republican colleagues. "We're about to break with the entire history of the Internet," Markey said. "Everyone should understand that."

This philosophical rift extends beyond the precise wording of the telecommunications legislation. It centers on whether broadband providers will be free to design their networks as they see fit and enjoy the latitude to prioritize certain types of traffic--such as streaming video--over others. (In an interview last week with CNET News.com, Verizon Chief Technology Officer Mark Wegleitner said prioritization is necessary to make such services economically viable.)

After a day of debate, the committee went on to vote 27-4 in favor of approving the final bill--minus the Democrats' amendment--sending it onward to full committee consideration, expected in late April. The vote on the amendment itself did not occur strictly along party lines, with one Republican voting in favor and four Democrats voting against it.

Leading Republicans have dismissed concerns about Net neutrality, also called network neutrality, as simultaneously overblown and overly vague.

"This is not Chicken Little, the sky is not falling, we're not going to change the direction of the axis of the earth on this vote," said Rep. John Shimkus, an Illinois Republican. He said overregulatory Net neutrality provisions would amount to picking winners and losers in the marketplace and discourage investment in faster connections that will benefit consumers.

Last week, Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Joe Barton said: "Before we get too far down the road, I want to let the market kind of sort itself out, and I'm not convinced that we really have a problem with Net neutrality."

Barton and other Republican leaders of the House panel did, however, offer some modest changes to a telecommunications bill in response to concerns from Internet and software companies.

Their replacement bill would require the Federal Communications Commission to vet all complaints of violations of Net neutrality principles within 90 days. It gave the FCC the power to levy fines of up to $500,000 per violation.

It also contained explicit language denying the FCC the authority to make new rules on Net neutrality. Democrats charged that lack of enforcement power would mean the FCC would be unable to deal with the topic flexibly.

Rep. Charles Pickering, a Mississippi Republican, backed that less-regulatory approach, saying that a "case-by-case adjudicatory process" is the best way to address Net neutrality concerns while ensuring competition in the marketplace.

Democrat's failed proposal
The amendment that was rejected on Wednesday took a similar approach to strict Net neutrality legislation introduced in the Senate last month by Democratic Sen. Ron Wyden.

It said that any content provider must be awarded bandwidth "with equivalent or better capability than the provider extends to itself or affiliated parties, and without the imposition of any charge." That would likely prohibit any plans by Verizon or other former Bell companies to offer their own video services that would be given priority over other traffic (video is bandwidth-intensive and intolerant of network delays).

"I think this walled garden approach that many network providers would like to create would fundamentally change the way the Internet works and undermine the power of the Net as a force of innovation and change," said Rep. Anna Eshoo, a California Democrat.

Markey warned: '"There is a fundamental choice. It's the choice between the bottleneck designs of a...small handful of very large companies and the dreams and innovations of thousands of online companies and innovators."

By "very large companies," Markey was not referring to Microsoft, which has a market value of $287 billion, but its much smaller political rival Verizon, which has a market value of $101 billion and has opposed Net neutrality mandates. Markey did not appear to be referring to Google, which has a value of $121 billion and has been lobbying on behalf of federal regulations, but to AT&T, which has a value of $105 billion and has opposed them.

A CNET News.com report published last week, however, showed that the Internet industry is being outspent in Washington by more than a 3-to-1 margin.

AT&T, Comcast, Time Warner, and Verizon spent $230.9 million on politicians from 1998 until the present, while Amazon, eBay, Google, Microsoft and Yahoo spent only a combined $71.2 million. (Those figures include lobbying expenditures, individual contributions, political action committees and soft money.)

In the last week, the Net neutrality debate in Washington has spread beyond the circles of lobbyists for telecommunications and e-commerce companies.

A network of conservative and free-market groups has begun warning Congress that Net neutrality regulations are not consistent with Republican laissez-faire principles and protection of private-property rights.

The American Conservative Union, the National Taxpayers Union, former House Majority Leader Dick Armey's FreedomWorks, and Citizens Against Government Waste were among the signers of a letter Friday that said the Democrat-backed proposal would let the FCC "exercise complete discretion over the Internet."

"At the very least," the letter cautioned, "the vague terminology could lead to an explosion of litigation, which would, in turn, deter capital investments in technology and thwart the evolution of the Internet."

Republican insider Grover Norquist of Americans for Tax Reform, which opposes tax hikes, added in a letter on Tuesday that "a network neutrality provision in any form would begin down the dangerous path of Internet regulation.

See more CNET content tagged:
Net Neutrality, amendment, Republican, Democrat, proposal


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I wonder how much telecomm companies contributed to their campaigns
would be interesting to see a list of which member voted how alongside his campaign contributors
Posted by gubbord (171 comments )
Reply Link Flag
...probably as many Telcos as Pharmaceuticals... Business is owned by Republicans, they help themselves (the rich) and screw the poor, period... Can't wait to see that new "Universal Content Tax" on my Telco bill... How long until someone gets fed up enough and stages another Oklahoma City?
Posted by SwissJay (115 comments )
Link Flag
Reading the last paragraph tells us that if Ebay, Microsoft and others contributed/spent more money on our 'representatives' this thing would swing in favor of consumers and innovation. But they didn't and I expect to get bills from my broadband providers to include itemized list of videos I viewed along with charges for it. Yeah more value and competition for consumers. Blah. Richer keep getting richer while poor keep getting poorer. It will never change.
Posted by dondarko (261 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Hang on their bud...
Political contribution statistics show clearly that people give money to candidates they believe are "winners." Political contributions are not made for losers who need help winning. (at least, not the VAST majority)

You're putting the cart before the horse when you suggest that more money from Company X would result in Resolution B.

The reality is the opposite...

Money from Company X will be given to whomever is running a winning push for Resolution B.
Posted by William Squire (151 comments )
Link Flag
Beyond the telco's, how much support is there for a tiered Internet? I'm not reading or hearing much in the way of support for that kind of model.

Is the GOP completely losing their collective minds? More and more I get the feeling a sea change is coming in the next elections.
Posted by R. U. Sirius (745 comments )
Reply Link Flag
I'm a republican yet find the continued sellouts amazing. Our leadership barely makes an effort at positive arguments. Justification has become "it won't hurt much. Don't worry. Trust us." From guys who admit "most of us don't know what net neutrality means." (Beyond the contributions and accompanying talking points, no doubt.)

Pardon my dismay, but this one just hits too close to home.
Posted by inthewoods (10 comments )
Link Flag
It's the right call, let's make sure it sticks
Even though a 'net neutrality mandate sounds benign, it is really an invitation of the feds into enforcing how bits go over the wire. Blanket rules and bureaucracy can only hurt the 'net.

Look, the 'net is still in its infancy so let's not lock it down with rules that might or might not address an actual problem. Neutrality legislation is speculative at best, and honestly, Congress doesn't know enough about the technology to get it right.

If there are market abuses, let the FCC address them individually. Otherwise, let's not be adding new burdens. It's a classic "be careful what you wish for".

More here: <a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www.onlyrepublican.com/orinsf/net_neutrality_and_municipal_wifi/" target="_newWindow">http://www.onlyrepublican.com/orinsf/net_neutrality_and_municipal_wifi/</a>
Posted by ORinSF (57 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Do you even understand the problem?
The problems originally stated by internet content providers is that ISPs/telcos will throttle access to sites that don't pay a fee (ransom) to the ISP/telco for more bandwidth.

The problem here is that the ISPs/telcos are already charging the end users (you and me) for that bandwidth. But, under this legislation, your access speeds to certain sites will depend on thier ability to pay more money to the ISP/telcom than a competing site.

So just what is your money paying for? If we can't control the bandwidth why should we be charged for it?

This is one of the most ignorant things the Republicans have done so far.

It will be the end of a free internet and the begining of an internet where you must subscribe to all sites to get acceptable bandwidth (to help them with the ransom money for the ISP/telco) AND have to pay for "premium" service from your ISP/telco.

I hope and pray that they all are booted from office.
Posted by Jim Hubbard (326 comments )
Link Flag
This is unacceptable
I feel like I'm being robbed, and that the police are giving high fives
to the thieves.
Posted by Microbreak (61 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Of course
Of course, they're republicans. By their very nature they'll favor the corporations and lobbyists over what's right for the American people.
Posted by jdbwar07 (150 comments )
Link Flag
The internet that you knew is over......
This will be the end of a free internet and the begining of an internet where you must subscribe to all sites to get acceptable bandwidth (to help them with the ransom money for the ISP/telco) AND have to pay for "premium" service from your ISP/telco.

The problems originally stated by internet content providers is that ISPs/telcos will throttle access to sites that don't pay a fee (ransom) to the ISP/telco for more bandwidth. A charge that the telcos do not dispute.

The problem here is that the ISPs/telcos are already charging the end users (you and me) for that bandwidth for our internet connections.

But, under this legislation, your access speeds to certain sites will depend on the site's ability to pay more money to the ISP/telcom than a competing site.

So just what is your money paying for? If we can't control the bandwidth why should we be charged for it?

This is one of the most ignorant things the Republicans have done so far.

I hope and pray that they all are booted from office. And relegated to no internet access.

They shouldn't even use something they understand so poorly.
Posted by Jim Hubbard (326 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Get a clue
The Internet is what it is because it has been largely unregulated. Resisting NEW LAWS that dictate pricing and services is not going to change the Internet as you suggest. You are spreading a fear that just isn't true. Companies could be screwing you today, and they are not.

Governing the activities of companies and individuals with regards to the Internet through federal legislation, on the other hand, IS EXACTLY what you SHOULD be fearing. Only when the government passes LAWS governing the Internet can you be ASSURED that "the internet tha tyou knew is over."

Otherwise... its just the Internet as usual.

Its a shame, but it appears as though you anti-Republican political position has clouded your understanding of government regulation.
Posted by William Squire (151 comments )
Link Flag
November 2006 - Talkback then!
Everyone who is upset about this, express it in your voting in 7 months.

This is a joke, how many Politicians do you think really understand what's at stake here?
Posted by LarryLo (164 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Trust the FCC
While I think you bring up a valid statement on moving slow, and I beleive more time is needed to craft articulte legislation. I think relying on teh FCC is cold comfort at best. This organization is just as ripe for bias and tampering as any.
Posted by kapital (1 comment )
Reply Link Flag
I do agree on that point...
I don't trust the FCC anymore than congress, but I really don't see any solution to this mess, unfortunately, there's really noone out there looking out for the average citizen...
Posted by MisterFlibble (207 comments )
Link Flag
Biased DemocRAT party line article
The story says "The vote on the amendment itself did not occur strictly along party lines, with one Republican voting in favor and four Democrats voting against it."

Four DemocRATs voted against it, it was defeated 23 to 8 (or "8 - 23" as the biased article says) - so why is it that "Republicans" defeated it?

The committee then voted 27 - 4 to pass the bill without the amendment. Hardly a "party line" vote.

Looks like the NY Times or Dan Rather's CBS News wrote this article for CNet straight from the DNC daily fax.
Posted by fafafooey (171 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Uh... you do know the DNC is just as conservative...
as the RNC is, don't you? There is no two party system in this country, it's all one big giant neo-con haven, and damn all the little people who get in there way... wow, Dan Rather made it into your post, gee, I wonder why *cough*talking points*cough*... please, at least try to be original rather than cloning some talk show host...
Posted by MisterFlibble (207 comments )
Link Flag
You are an example...
...of what's gone horribly wrong with the GOP. All you can do is spout a bunch of nonsense ad hominem attacks. It's unfortunate that the hate-filled underbelly of society has taken over the GOP. I think you will be shocked when you find that a number of us who have never voted democrat in our lives cross over largely to repudiate your kind.

BTW, the Internet as is represents the free flow of ideas, which is the backbone of democracy. Anyone who supports a tiered system is essentially backing a plan for control over ideas.
Posted by R. U. Sirius (745 comments )
Link Flag
Department of Redundancy Department
"A Republican-controlled House Energy and Commerce subcommittee"

All committees and subcommittees are republican controlled. Part of the benefit of having a decent majority in the house.
Posted by ebrandel (102 comments )
Link Flag
Vote totals
Dear Fafa Fooey:

Thanks for your comments.

Only 1 Dem broke ranks and 4 Repubs broke ranks on the Markey amendment, meaning something like 7/8 of the Democrats supported and 22/26 of the Republicans opposed. Those are very close to complete party-line votes.

As for the final bill, you're right that the vote total was not as partisan -- but the final bill dealt with far more than Net neutrality such as return to local franchising if cable competition ceases so it's not really terribly relevant to our story. (The Dems may have voted for it for tactical reasons or because they liked the *OTHER* cable franchising portions of the bill more than they disliked the Net neutrality sections.)

Put another way, Fooey, we correctly focused on the litmus test on NN. The other vote was much more muddled on issues unrelated to NN.

But thanks for asking, Fooey.
Posted by declan00 (848 comments )
Link Flag
Dude, you are accusing Declan
of being a Democrat? That's the funniest thing I've ever heard. He's a snobby libertarian. google "declan gore internet" if you want to see how democratic he is... Declan still hasn't apologized for that hit job...
Posted by aabcdefghij987654321 (1721 comments )
Link Flag
Not a partisan divide.
<a href="http://agonist.org/sean_paul_kelley/20060405/net_neutrality_hearings">As I reported on my blog,</a> which has been covering this issue ver closely, there is a clear Republican/Democrat split ON THE SUB COMMITTE but in the full committee and the House (not to mention the Senate) their is still a very real possibility of creating a bi-partisan coalition on this. Let's not let the partisanship narrative get away from us until those of us working on creating a real bi-partisan coaltion have a chance to do so. Please?

And also note, I live in San Antonio, and a Democratic Representative shamefully voted against the amendment. See <a href="http://agonist.org/sean_paul_kelley/20060405/net_neutrality_hearings">this post </a>to see how much money he's recieved from the telcos.
Posted by Sean-Paul (2 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Who let all these Right Wing hacks in?
Seriously, folks, CNet has consistently been the home for
intelligent discussion of IT issues. Today, the board's filled with
freepers. Go away, because it's very apparent you don't even
understand the issues.

Net neutrality is an EXCELLENT idea if only because a tiered
internet at Verizon's discretion is a HORRIBLE idea. I've studied
this compulsively for about a year now, and well over 9 out of 10
people (other than telco companies) in the tech industry thinks
net neutrality regulation is the only thing that will keep
broadband companies from reshaping the internet to fit their
dreams. (The other 1/10, e.g. Ed Felten, is generally undecided
at worst.)

Ask the people who built the internet and their rightful
descendants, and they will tell you consistently: Were it not for
common carrier regulations that prevented phone companies
from levying these sorts of tolls on dialup access that they'd love
to levy on broadband packets, the internet as we know it never
would have gotten off the ground.

Go back to your own boards, you right wing hacks, until and
unless you grow some tech and/or tech law credentials. You're
only here b/c the word "Republican" is in the headline.
Posted by ShoutingLoudly (22 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Not defending the vote
Wow! You sound like such an expert! Or not...

The problem us "Right Wing Hacks" have with CNet is all of their politically related articles are handled by Declan McCullagh, who is a left wing hack. To him Republicans are always wrong and evil. This article is another example of it.

I'm against a tiered internet and network providers double-charging the major web sites for their bandwidth. But providers like Verizon do have some rights in regards to how they can operate their networks. As is stated in the article, the democrats' proposed bill would most likely severly limit their ability to give their own video services priority. Why shouldn't they be able to do that?

"Go back to your own boards, you right wing hacks, until and unless you grow some tech and/or tech law credentials. You're only here b/c the word "Republican" is in the headline."

No, I read news.com daily. It's my homepage at work and at home. But we hacks are sorry, we'll try and let this site be a left-wing echo chamber. That's always better, isn't it?

"I've studied this compulsively for about a year now"

Seek help.
Posted by ebrandel (102 comments )
Link Flag
BTW: Not dissing all Repubs
I am, however, dissing all of you partisan hacks whose knee-jerk
reaction to support the neoliberal party line is helping to kill
perhaps the greatest technology that has been invented in the
last 30 years.

Several Republican voters, activists, and members of Congress
(esp. in the Senate) are quite respectable people; many of this
subset are also willing to acknowledge that a broadband market
feature 2 or fewer competitors in most regions is not exactly
what Adam Smith had in mind.
Posted by ShoutingLoudly (22 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Regressive republicans
Unfortunately nearly all of the good conservatives have been pushed out of the GOP. Now we just have filty, corrupt neocons who choose to work for the corporations and wealthy as opposed to the american public. And whose main choice when choosing to support a bill or not is how much their lobbyist is paying them.
Posted by jdbwar07 (150 comments )
Link Flag
America the Slow
Home of the ransomed. Where you must pay to play. Only the rich survive.

Look abroad for innovation.
Posted by ordaj (338 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Plenty of GOP supporters think this is a huge mistake
The current state of network neutrality must be maintained - even if the regulation is as simple as carriers, "...shall not filter, impede, block, delay, or otherwise interfere with packets based upon packet-type, -source or -destination..."

The Internet2 backbone proves that, with sufficient bandwidth, best-effort packet delivery is more than sufficient. And one of the inventors of TCP/IP, Bob Kahn, is on record as saying -- essentially -- that if you tier the Internet, well, you don't have the Internet. I think I'd go with Kahn -- rather than pointy-headed bosses at the telcos on this one.

Cisco's Service Exchange Framework (SEF) -- being pitched to the carriers -- is highly ominous in what it proposes.

Bottom line: Google, Skype, Vonage, Digg... all of these businesses (and many more) created value where none existed. They did so by building layers 4-7 applications.

Adding tollbooths and prioritization gates to the Internet subtracts value.

If the telcos can't make their business model work to compete with cable companies: tough s**t. Find a business model -- one that hopefully creates value -- that actually does work.

<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://directorblue.blogspot.com/2006/02/end-of-internet-another-fantastic-deal.html" target="_newWindow">http://directorblue.blogspot.com/2006/02/end-of-internet-another-fantastic-deal.html</a>
Posted by directorblue (148 comments )
Reply Link Flag
You know this probably won't be a problem, not it the way everyone thinks. Obviously there will be many annoying situations developing here, but the damage is still just theoretical. However, I doubt any company will stop enterprising hackers and power users from getting around their restrictions. Hopefully they either get hacked so much or spend so much money filtering requests that they abandon the idea altogether. Lets all do our best to make sure that happens.
Posted by jmanjohns2 (25 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Think about the little people in this.
Little companies like mine, Tech01.net (www.Tech01.net). My
company produces web audio and video using technologies like
Quicktime and Flash. Building these services for the web has
become increasingly difficult, especially when it comes to Mobile
Web, to develop application for.

This is due to Companies like Verizon and T-Mobile, who
already regulate how content is served from a Mobile Web
standpoint. There able to send video and audio over there local
servers and networks, but when I want to create some mobile
video or audio it is impossible. This is in fact due to services like
Verizon and T-Mobil who know that mobile services like video
and audio are going to be big money. Do you think that
Tech01.net can get into this real very easily? The answer is NO!

So now you want to make it readily available for these very
companies as well as the Microsoft's, and Yahoo's and Google's,
from allowing the little man (Tech01.net) to try to make a living
in this digital world using Web Video and Audio.

By allowing these companies to control the content and how it is
delivered on a World Wide Web basis is WRONG! The only thing
that should be considered for control and issue is the DNS
system as well as the Domain Name Registrations service.
Although ICANN has done a good job up until this point it's well
known that it's services are very politically motivated.

There does need to be some control on the web, control by a
figure that is recognized as one that could inflict force upon
those that don't abide by simple set rules.

Those rules need only govern a small, unnoticed by most,
portion of the web. The DNS system as a whole needs to be
regulated first and foremost. A short following of rules for ISP's
to aid in capture of Hackers as well as spammer's and phisher's
would also be added.

That's it, that would be enough government to make us feel
safe; yet not enough government to be publicly intrusive to a
venture like the web.

I get a sense of Web sercurity, you get a sense of web
security ,and the rest we "LEAVE ALONE"!

Posted by OneWithTech (196 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Internet: Japan, S. Korea, China
These three countries are undoubtedly going to be the leaders in innovation on the web in the next 20 years -- if American corporations keep throttling entrepeneurs like this.
Posted by alucinor (71 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Don't Forget India and Europe
Reading between the lines, here's what this all means. What's becoming clear is that the majority of the politicians currently in Washington are beholden to old monied interests, and don't give a damn about their constituents or the economic health of this country. Between the record deficits and decisions like this, it's obvious they all need to get tossed out in November.

I don't care what party you're from; backing AT&#38;T, which long ago ceased to be a growth industry player, over Google, Microsoft, eBay and the myriad of other real growth industry players is stupid.
Posted by R. U. Sirius (745 comments )
Link Flag
S. Korea et al
Those countries have done well with broadband rollout, but are very different markets.

Japan and S. Korea have over 30x the population density that we do. So, running a mile of fiber will pass 30x as many people and is effectively 30x more profitable for the builder. In places where our population density is similar, our broadband success is similar.

The US is deploying a lot of new fiber, and we should not deter it by telling the builders what they can and cannot do with their pipes. Nobody is throttling anyone, it simply hasn't happened. Let's not pass speculative laws for crimes that don't exist.
Posted by ORinSF (57 comments )
Link Flag
the internet
When I first started surfing the net, the big three were still in power. I'm talking about aol, compuserve and prodigy. Prodigy didn't make it past y2k, their software was incompatible and they saw no future in their business model, so they folded. Compuserve was assimilated by aol and turned into an even more crappier version of itself. Aol became the bigest isp in america, then dumped all their content to the web, so now all that cool aol only content is available to anyone. Makes being an aol member kind of stupid, don't you think? But I digress, we are talking about the internet and it's current problem.

The more it costs for people to provide content for users in the internet, the less content we will have. The real plan? Simple, squeeze out the little guy so only corporations exist in the internet.

The internet used to be a large library of information. Now, it's becoming the world's largest shopping mall.
Posted by thedreaming (573 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Novemeber is coming...
Time to get rid of some republicans and put people in that care a little more about the people. Time to put people in office that don't have their heads so far up their... that they have to fart to breath!

Posted by Heebee Jeebies (632 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Wow... Where Do I Begin?
Telcos don't have your best interests at heart. They don't even have 'hearts'... They have wallets/coffers. Their only short sighted desire is to swell their coffers.

Why build additional capacity when they can squeeze more money out of the existing pipes?

What I really don't 'get' is that people still have this 'faith' that their government or service provider (Telco Co) has their best interest at heart! Republicans seem to have more of this 'faith' than the rest.

I suggest that you vote against ANYONE that voted down this bill, for they are in bed with Telcos (Their votes are being 'bought'), they don't understand what's at stake, and/or they are just plain stupid.

"But I'm a software/web developer, and I really know what I'm talking about..."

You know how many times I've heard this from a developer, as his/her new application is crashing parts of our network?

"But Verizon just wants to be able to pump video to your cell phone! They just want to be our 'friends'! Why would anyone be against that?!"

Guess what? The people pushing this bill aren't against 'that'. Telcos can already do this; all they have to do is build out THEIR network that they already have FULL CONTROL over and OWN... Their Wireless Network, folks, is back-ended with their In-house IP Network - where all their other 'services' already reside. This is the same process they already undergo when they add new 'features' to attract new customers. So in the sense of Wireless companies somehow not being able to deliver advanced services to their customers if this Bill passed is purely a lie.

And what, next your're going to say that the Baby Bells don't have the 'will' or the funding to light some dark fiber or add bandwidth to enable any services that they want to provide to their customers? Is that not one of their core competancies? If it isn't, then they deserve to sink.

This is an attempt by the Telcos (Baby Bells mostly) to legislate/levy a tax on the content (Google, Yahoo, M$, Uncle Bob's) ~ Pure and simple. And If they do get away with buying legislative permission to do this, I sincerely doubt that you will even see a performance increase in regards to these 'enhanced' services if they are left unchecked.

Wireless Telecomm is killing the traditional Baby Bell business model. They are now flailing about in the areas of IP transport in an attempt to figure out business model (IPTV, VoIP, etc). The path of least resistance (Unfortunately) is to buy legislature (Via PAC donations, lobbiests, etc) that gives them the ability to strangle competetion on their networks (Networks that were founded and built when they were Ma Bell/Monopoly; the same networks that grew under the baby bells regional monopolies).

This is very bad, people. You cannot have faith that a business will simply 'Do the right thing' and that unregulated market (Free) will benefit everyone and govern itself (Enron). The business animals at the top of that market food chain will do everything in their power to ensure their 'food' supply - killing off or stiffling their competition. We will then cease to be 'consumers' for these top predators- Um, I meant 'businesses' - and we will be more like 'livestock' to them...

And for the guy critisizing the other commenter for following this issue 'closely over the last year' - Lighten up! This is an important issue. I'm glad that someone is following it closely b/c most Ammuricuns don't seem to have a clue about it, including the ones that matter most - our elected(?) leaders. The Intarweb is tied directly to our economy now and this relationship will become more intertwined in the future.

If more businesses would focus on 'growing the pie' rather than increasing the size of their respective slice, everyone would see more benefit. Growing this particular pie effectively grows our GDP. The Intarweb is what military folks would call a 'force multiplier' for our economy/country.

&lt;End Rant&gt;

Posted by rabidsquirrel (3 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Republicans aren't saying there shouldn't be net neutrality
It should be on a case by case basis. Not blanket regulated by some government agency.
Posted by jasonj86 (1 comment )
Reply Link Flag
It's more black and white than that.
Their choice was either to preserve the internet as it is (and what made it so great), or to allow it to be detrimentally altered. Out of greed, they chose the latter.

The FCC now just works for the republicans and you can't count on them to do anything for consumers.
Posted by jdbwar07 (150 comments )
Link Flag
Bottom Line: Revenue Stream
This is not GOP Vs. Dems. It is true however, that this is quickly becoming a political hot button. I believe that Companies who provide bandwidth should be able to charge Customer Companies more for using up (above and beyond) said bandwidth (which already happens in certain cases). This cost however, should not passed on to consumers, as we create the "market" for both Bandwidth Providers and Bandwidth Based Service Providers.

I do not think that a tiered service is in the best interest of anyone, exception: Bandwidth Providers. All this does is allow for the internet to turn into a "Rich" Vs. "Poor" environment, where one Service can reach people at great speed and the other is just acceptable. Example is that I might use ESPN instead of CBS Sportsline or vice versa, depending on the speed which I can get my scores &#38; news. This happens anyway for other reasons, but it could have more play. This brings me to my next point.

I don't think I have to tell anyone here, that the internet world and a majority of it's users are not patient. Everyone wants technology to produce results/speed now...now...now. People will not wait for a service if they can get it faster. We all know this. I can also see this playing a huge role in startup Content Service Providers. This can cause a ripple effect all the way down to Start-Up Capital. This is why I think this needs to be debated among Consumer Groups, Government Officials, and Telecos in a public forum. It can't be one of these "hot button" "drive by" issues that seem to always come up before election times. ;-)

There are good &#38; bad arguments on both sides of the isle, but the bottom line is, that in it's current state, this is only another Revenue Stream for Providers.
Posted by ZeroJCF (51 comments )
Reply Link Flag
"The Economist" weighs in
Keep it simple
Mar 9th 2006
From The Economist - <a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www.economist.com/displaystory.cfm?story_id=5603431" target="_newWindow">http://www.economist.com/displaystory.cfm?story_id=5603431</a>

"Defenders of 'net neutrality' should be careful not to harm the very thing they want to protect"

"...It sounds worrying. Yet some packets are already favoured, even on today's internet. Businesses routinely pay a premium for fast, secure tunnels through the network. Firewalls and virus filters discriminate against suspicious traffic. Big companies already pay extra for hosting and content delivery services to make their websites download faster. This has not hampered innovation. And telecoms operators insist that they have no intention of blocking or slowing existing traffic.

An overly prescriptive set of net-neutrality rules could prove counterproductive. For a start, it would mean that all new network construction costs would have to be recouped from consumers alone, which could drive up prices or discourage investment. Ensuring neutrality could require regulators to interpose themselves in all kinds of agreements between network operators, content providers and consumers. If a network link is too slow to support a particular service, does that constitute a breach of neutrality? Strict rules could also hinder the development of new services that depend on being able to distinguish between different types of traffic, imposing a one size fits all architecture on the internet just as engineers are considering novel ways to improve its underlying design (see survey).

While the two positions might appear to be incompatible, there is in fact a sensible path that should suit everyone. A minimal set of rules to protect net neutrality would still leave room for operators to experiment with new premium services. Even Edward Whitacre, the boss of AT&#38;T, says he is happy to go along with the simple rules proposed by America's telecoms regulator that forbid discrimination against particular websites or services. Blocking or interfering with existing traffic on the internet is unacceptable; but if operators want to build fast lanes alongside it, they should be allowed to."
Posted by ender.krum (6 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Sanity at last
Thanks, Ender -- I was really getting tired of the rants from people with little or nothing to add except venom. Once again, too many of the complainers have gone off on the tangent of "they want to take away my ability to go anywhere, see anything I want on the Web." That's not what Net Neutrality's about.
Posted by NJSolly (5 comments )
Link Flag
Net Socialism Not Needed or Wanted
The internet is an open market. If Google wants to pay more for reserved bandwidth, let them. Someone wants to buy something, someone will sell it to them.
Posted by hahne59 (33 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Not needed if we want to be a third wolrd country
To think that "Net Neutrality" is socialism one must have clearly
drunk the Rebulican cool-aid. The issue is keeping the net open
so that competition exists and continues to be a force to create
new products and services at lower costs. Remember that when
we had a monopoly phone company, the courts had to mandate
that companies had the right to even attach a modem to phone
lines. That is because natural monolopies such as networks
don't insure that new ideas, technologies, or services are
introduced. In fact, they are discouraged because they cost
Posted by philpacker (50 comments )
Link Flag
No wonder...
"AT&#38;T, Comcast, Time Warner, and Verizon spent $230.9 million on politicians from 1998 until the present, while Amazon, eBay, Google, Microsoft and Yahoo spent only a combined $71.2 million. (Those figures include lobbying expenditures, individual contributions, political action committees and soft money.)"

That's why. As usual, neocon politicians make their decision based on greed, sacrificing what's right for America and the public in the process.
Posted by jdbwar07 (150 comments )
Reply Link Flag

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