June 28, 2006 2:12 PM PDT

Senate deals blow to Net neutrality

WASHINGTON--A U.S. Senate panel narrowly rejected strict Net neutrality rules on Wednesday, dealing a grave setback to companies like eBay, Google and Amazon.com that had made enacting them a top political priority this year.

By an 11-11 tie, the Senate Commerce Committee failed to approve a Democrat-backed amendment that would have ensured all Internet traffic is treated the same no matter what its "source" or "destination" might be. A majority was needed for the amendment to succeed.

This vote complicates Internet companies' efforts to convince Congress of the desirability of extensive new regulations, especially after the House of Representatives definitively rejected the concept in a 269-152 vote on June 8.

Republican committee members attacked the idea of inserting Net neutrality regulations in a massive telecommunications bill, echoing comments from broadband providers like AT&T and Verizon, which warned the rules were premature and unnecessary. Alaska's Ted Stevens, the committee chairman, accused his colleagues of "imposing a heavy-handed regulation before there's a demonstrated need."

What's more, Republicans warned, adding the regulations would imperil the final passage of the broader telecommunications bill, which is the most extensive set of changes since 1996. "This is absolutely a poison pill," said Nevada Republican John Ensign.

Democrats had rallied behind an amendment, adapted from a standalone bill they offered in May, which would have barred network operators from discriminating "in the carriage and treatment of Internet traffic based on the source, destination or ownership of such traffic." That could have prevented Verizon from inking deals to offer high-definition video and prioritizing that on its network, for instance.

Without new rules prohibiting such practices, "we're giving two entities, the Bells and cable, the power to be able to cut deals, and that will change the relationship of entrepreneurs to the Internet and to the financial marketplace," said John Kerry, the Massachusetts Democrat.

reader's guide
Congress' broadband battles
A look at various provisions of the telecommunications bills currently before Congress.

The concept of network neutrality, which generally means that all Internet sites must be treated equally, has drawn a list of high-profile backers, from actress Alyssa Milano to Vint Cerf, one of the technical pioneers of the Internet. It's also led to a political rift between big Internet companies such as Google and Yahoo that back it--and telecom companies that oppose what they view as onerous new federal regulations.

By a 12-10 vote, senators also rejected a second amendment that was broader. The amendment, proposed by Hawaii Democrat Daniel Inouye, included not just Net neutrality anti-discrimination language but also addressed topics such as video franchising and universal service.

Then, by a 15-7 vote, senators voted to send the broader telecommunications bill--called the Communications, Consumer's Choice, and Broadband Deployment Act--to the full Senate for a vote. Its fate there is hardly assured, though a Net neutrality amendment is likely to be offered in any floor vote.

In a statement after the votes, Verizon urged the Senate to act swiftly on the bill, claiming that delays in boosting video competition will cost consumers billions of dollars a year in higher cable bills.

But Sen. Ron Wyden, an Oregon Democrat, said Wednesday that he would seek to prevent a floor vote on the telecommunications bill because it did not include extensive Net neutrality regulations. "I will object to any further action on this telecommunications bill until it includes a strong net neutrality provisions that will truly benefit consumers and small business," Wyden said, a promise that has teeth because the Senate often works through unanimous consent.

The Republican-backed bill does include some Net neutrality regulations. It would, for instance, create an "Internet consumer bill of rights" to be policed by the Federal Communications Commission. That would permit punishment of network operators who interfere with their subscribers' ability to access and post any lawful content they please, to use any Web page, search engine or application (including voice and video programs), and to connect legal devices to the network.

Stevens defended those rules against Democrats who charged they were not extensive enough. If companies like Google, Microsoft and Amazon got their way, Stevens warned, "our costs for individual access to the (Internet) will double."

All the Republican committee members except Olympia Snowe of Maine voted against the more regulatory Net neutrality amendment. All the Democrats voted for it. The amendment was sponsored by Snowe and Byron Dorgan, a Democrat from North Dakota.

See more CNET content tagged:
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35 comments

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Consumer's Choice- NOT!!!
No surprise here- another Orwellian named bill that does the opposite of what it is titled. Hopefully this excremental bill will not get passed or reconcilled with the bundle of atrocities making it's way through the House Of Represent The Thieves. Want things to change? Vote these fascist Republicans out of office.
Posted by zanzzz (138 comments )
Reply Link Flag
You do your cause no good
Not all republicans are evil. Hell most aren't. Most republicans are hard working americans like me :-).

What you are seeing is many led by a few. You have pressure from the whitehose, The pary whip, finacial considerations, bla bla bla. But do not say republicans and fasists together like they are one in the same. They are not.

The cause you are reved up for only looses support from republicans when you do that.. Instead look at it for what it is. This isn't left or right wing issue, it is a finacial and class issue. You do not hear much about class warfare these days, but a couple years ago, there were some right on point thoughts on the matter.
Posted by Central_office_tech (49 comments )
Link Flag
Tiered Access = Filtered internet.
I am a little confused. I thought that the "Googles" and the "Yahoos" were already supporting the Bells? Who the hell sells them bandwidth? I guarantee they have a huge bill each month just to connect up all their servers etc. For each service these companies provide they have to have more infrastructure and more bandwidth.

Sounds to me like the bells are getting greedy. I already pay almost $150 a month just for Cable and internet. Who are they trying to pull the wool over on?

I am amazed that the FTC allowed all the mergers we just witnessed in the last couple of years. Att&t W and Cingular; At&t and SBC; Sprint and Nextel; Verizon (bell south, gte and others) and MCI! Now that is a monster! God forbid you do something to **** off these mega bells!

I guess this next year or so we should charish the internet for what it is. Because one day it will be Alot more heavily "regulated" and commercialized to enrich these fat basterds at the top!

One thing I have to mention is that when this regulation occurs the Riaa and the Mpaa will have their say becuase now they can cut those bit torrent streams down to a trickle. This is one of the largest schemes to "regulate" (remove) our freedoms I have ever seen.
Posted by (20 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Actually, no
Tiered access is already a reality. The bigger your site and your required bandwidth, the more you pay. That's tiered access. It only becomes a real problem when you start charging more depending on who provides the content - ie, if you charge Yahoo more to have a speedier link than Google, there is something rotten in the state of Denmark. You've made it that much harder to use Google and are in reality probably driving people to use Yahoo, because for them it will be faster.

Speed controls and priorization of traffic is already in use (quality of service) and will continue to be in use and increase (some stuff is important, other stuff can be slower) but that choice shouldn't be based on economic factors but on keeping the important data flowing and the less important stuff a bit slower.
Posted by lorcro2000 (71 comments )
Link Flag
Only surprise is who the highest bidder was
You should know by now that congress is for sale. This time the telcos placed the highest bid. Maybe next time Google and Yahoo! can come up with more campaign contributions.
Posted by Spimby (61 comments )
Reply Link Flag
I disagree
From what I've seen, you don't have to buy a congress critter to do your bidding.

You can rent them - cheap!
Posted by rcrusoe (1305 comments )
Link Flag
hmmm
I trying to ge tthis straight. so help me out. Verizon "urged the
Senate to act swiftly on the bill, claiming that delays in boosting
video competition will cost consumers billions of dollars a year
in higher cable bills." If I've read this correctly, Verizon wants to
save me money?

And Senator Stevens believes that "companies like Google,
Microsoft and Amazon got their way our costs for individual
access to the (Internet) will double." So, the republican wants to
save me money also?

It's a trick right?
Posted by nerantzis (14 comments )
Reply Link Flag
It's a trick alright
Ofcourse Verizon isn't interested in saving you money. Google, Amazon and Youtube already pay through the nose for extremely high-speed, multi-tiered access links to the internet backbone. This has conveniently been ignored by the oh-so-high-and-mighty senators who voted against this bill.

This is all a matter of campaign contribution and who-knows-who, and is a result of a corrupt political system that is essentialy controlled by corporate America. I don't really blame the telcos, for them this is a pure business decision. But the senate and congress are elected officials that should have the best interests of its electorate in mind. The people who will benefit from this are a very, VERY small minority of that electorate. Clearly, money rules on the hill.
Posted by pedershk (58 comments )
Link Flag
Yea its lies
The republicans took hundreds of thousands of dollars from lobyists on this one. Verizon alone spent millions lobying this bill. Do you really think they bought all these lobyists on the hill to save you money?

Google is famous for releasing incredible free apps. For example, google earth, 2 giga bit gmail accounts. When was the last time the phone company released anything free? They want to rush this through because of up coming elections and with almost 8 years of a republican controled congress, it is likely Democrats will take over quite a few seats.

The telco's bought the republicans you see. This is fact. Google tryed to lobby, but found almost all Republican based firms in DC would have a conflict of intrest as the telco's had already paid BIG money. Not to mention IT firms like Yahoo, Google, Ebay do not pay what these firms are used to getting. They pay a measly few hundred thousand buck.

Politicians are expensive to own. The cost of Business on the hill needs to be addressed by these firms if they want to make head way.


In short, Republicans(so far) and telco's will create an artificial shortage of bandwidth, charge more(as we know economics 101 supply and demand).
Posted by Central_office_tech (49 comments )
Link Flag
Net Neutrality Now!- 3D Virtual Toon.
Net Neutrality Now!- 3D Virtual Toon.
<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www.thex3dxperience.com/liberty2.html" target="_newWindow">http://www.thex3dxperience.com/liberty2.html</a>

installs activex 3dplayer(flux) in IE PCs.

cube3
Posted by cube3 (190 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Net Neutrality Now!- 3D Virtual Toon.
Net Neutrality Now!- 3D Virtual Toon.
<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www.thex3dxperience.com/liberty2.html" target="_newWindow">http://www.thex3dxperience.com/liberty2.html</a>

installs activex 3dplayer(flux) in IE PCs.

cube3
Posted by cube3 (190 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Net Neutrality Now!- 3D Virtual Toon.
Net Neutrality Now!- 3D Virtual Toon.
<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www.thex3dxperience.com/liberty2.html" target="_newWindow">http://www.thex3dxperience.com/liberty2.html</a>

installs activex 3dplayer(flux) in IE PCs.

cube3
Posted by cube3 (190 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Agreed, but..
what is the link to the 4GB SANDISK SD chip doing in your post? You plan to store mugshots of all those corrupt politicans on there? :)
Posted by pedershk (58 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Installing Toll Booths on the Internet?
Do I have this right? My impression of companies that oppose the bill is that they are trying to install artificial and virtual tool booths on the internet that they are able to profit off of.
Posted by jmaestro26 (7 comments )
Reply Link Flag
You got it
Check it out

X========| |===========X

The x on the left is you, You pay 19.95 to access the internet. Lets say there are 100,000 of you as verizon customers(there are more, but lets keep it simple) That is $1,995,000 a month going to verizon. Now the second X is Google, Ebay, whoever owns a web site on a big pipe, DS3 or bigger.

Now a DS-1 costs about $500 a month, a DS-3 has 28 DS-1's in it. Now lets say they get a break for buying in bulk.. Instead of paying $14000 a month they pay $13500(this is for DS-3's OC-3's and other fiber only connections would cost more). Now running a big web site, you never buy one pipe. If it goes down you are screwed. You need back up pipes. Even better you might want them from other Telco's in case something Goes wrong with Verizon you still have your AT&#38;T pipe working. So lets say Google has 4 DS3's(They have much more bandwidth than that but lets keep it simple) That is $54,000 a month from that one web site.

Sooooo lets say each company has 5 major websites they run pipes to(once again, just keeping it simple) That is $270,000 a month from just 5 major web sites. Nowww...


For the DSL customers and the web sites...

$2,265,000 a month going to verizon. Now in my ascii diagram up there See the =| |=?

That is the telco cloud. What they want to do now is charge the web sites to pass through it. But the pricing structure will not be simple. They will check each data back, if it is video(mpg) it costs this much, audio(wma) it costs this much, but that is just the contract with company A. Company be might have a different contract.

Now here is a thought... What is to stop them in the future from coming back and charging YOU extra for video, audio, news streams. Tha answer is nothing.

Anyone wanting to rush a law into effect should be looked at twice.
Posted by Central_office_tech (49 comments )
Link Flag
Way to control VOIP?
Is this a way for the telephone companies to sneak their fingers into the VOIP Pie?
Posted by jmaestro26 (7 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Centralized Power Simplifies Corruption
It's as simple as that. Centralization of power goes against the very roots of Democracy and our country has been rushing headlong towards centralization since WWI. It is time for the pendulum to swing the other way, and Net neutrality should become the poster child for this campaign.

Ed Whitaker has been stumping for months (and apparently effectively greasing the Congressional wheels as well--like that's hard to do these days) to spin this unabashed and unapologetic piracy into something legit. This could be enough to cause me to vote Democratic for the first time in 25+ years if the Republicans don't pull their heads out soon.

sign me, Frustrated in the Heartland
Posted by ebreeze1 (1 comment )
Reply Link Flag
Internet Evolution
We are seing the continual evolution of the internet. The internet needs this level of control because it's no longer the internet we all fell in love with. It's not an information superhighway, it's a mall and it's filled to the brim with ads.
Posted by thedreaming (573 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Wow thats is miss informed
If the telcos get thier way it will no longer be filled with information. Did you just come from hands off the internets' site? lol How will filtering content stop the ads and encourage information?

Lets see, Advertisement firm vs University of Berkly.

Who do you think will pay for fast service to thier users?

This is a way to make commercial money from big companies. The idea is create a artificial shortage and charge based on supply and demand.
Posted by Central_office_tech (49 comments )
Link Flag
Alternate Headline: "Victory for private property rights"
The telco's paid for the wires, its their right to do what they want with them.
Posted by (402 comments )
Reply Link Flag
You are right!
You are absolutely right! I am happy too! What happens in the US have an impact all over the world. Best regards, Bjorn Lundahl, Gothenburg, Sweden
Posted by Björn Lundahl (253 comments )
Link Flag
I want to burn down my house!
I bought my house. I own it. It is my personal property.

Yet, for some strange reason, the government seems determined to stop me from burning it to the ground.

THERE ARE ACTUAL LAWS AGAINST BURNING DOWN MY OWN HOUSE! Can you believe it?

Nevermind that my little house fire could harm my neighbors homes or pollute the atmosphere. It's MY HOUSE!

And, nevermind that NOT passing net neutrality could harm small businesses - thereby harming the economy of the entire nation! Those wires are the phone companies' wires!

Screw small business! Screw the entire nation! Those wires are the phone company wires! They should be able to do whatever they want with them!

Screw my neighbors too! I can burn my house if I want to!

But....remember that those wires go across public land. So, maybe the taxpayers need to charge the telcos a new speed tax to send info across public land and down public streets. After all, with this new tiered internet, they can afford it.

Or, maybe the government should take over the wires and make the information network a public service. It IS vital to the public interest and to national security. Far too important to let anyone but the government oversee its use if you ask me. ;)
Posted by Jim Hubbard (326 comments )
Link Flag
Poorly written article
The Net Neutrality debate as covered by CNET has been hardly impartial - it has been clearly written slanted towards the opposition. It's laughable that Alyssa Milano's ties to Net Neutrality has been repeatedly emphasized, when her contribution to the effort has been negligible. I would argue that the so-called "grave defeat" for Net Neutrality mentioned in the article is actually a victory of sorts, as this has become largely a partisan issue, and as such, Republicans have a controlling vote in all committees and the Senate floor. Therefore, forcing a tie vote has effectively nullified the millions and millions of dollars Verizon and AT&#38;T have spent on their massive advertising campaign. In effect, the Senate has dealt a blow to Verizon and AT&#38;T, who now must wait to reap the millions they stand to gain with passage of this bill.
Posted by Biclops (1 comment )
Reply Link Flag
Fantastic!
I think we should keep governments out of the internet. Otherwise the governments will be the big problem. Government regulation is the real threat of the internet. After all, the government takes 50% of your income. Government regulation is not only unethical it is also uneconomical! If people really wants more, for example, safety they will get it (we all know how, the market informs us all the time). In that way we will know that people gets what they want. With government safety regulations you do not know if people really want them. Only true voluntary action by the people will tell us that! In that way it is economical and truly efficient. Microsoft gives people want they want. They should not give people what they do not want to pay for and they will not either. They make money in giving people what they want! Governments have great difficulties in understanding this. They only understand when their political parties get a lot of votes (a great market share in votes and power) that their parties are popular, but they do not understand that people "vote" for products and services (and companies) by buying and using those products and services. They think that people wants to waste their money (it would, though, still be a service and a vote for wasting money (pleasure, satisfaction)). Only property rights and the free market will let the internet work and also in accordance with peoples desires. Björn Lundahl, Gothenburg, Sweden
Posted by Björn Lundahl (253 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Clueless
This is the government giving greedy businesses the ability to rip off their customers even more. Nothing is fair in this, not to anyone. This is the government taking away the free market. Is this really that hard to see?

IF you think that the telcos paid for everything, and thus should be able to do with it what they please, you are clueless on many levels, the first being that the telcos paid for the infrastructure.
Posted by qwerty75 (1164 comments )
Link Flag
Insane!
Charging the sender and reciever is like FedX charging you to send a package and charging the reciever to get it.

It is hijacking of data that is not thiers.

I suppose that if you aren't getting your 10MB of speed because the ISP has throttled a website that you can sue for breech of contract, right?
Posted by Jim Hubbard (326 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Look It Up
I did not call Republicans evil; that is your word. I merely pointed out that they are fascists. If you are unfamiliar with the real political meaning of that word check out this explaination: <a class="jive-link-external" href="http://breakthelink.org/Loehr.php" target="_newWindow">http://breakthelink.org/Loehr.php</a>
Now review the voting records of virtually any Republican. I rest my case.
Posted by zanzzz (138 comments )
Reply Link Flag
WE Paid for those pipes!
Learn a little history before you make a stupid comment about exactly who paid for those teleco pipes! <a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www.newnetworks.com/broadbandscandals.htm" target="_newWindow">http://www.newnetworks.com/broadbandscandals.htm</a>

# By 2006, 86 million households should have been rewired with a fiber optic wire, capable of 45 Mbps, in both directions. -- read the promises.
# The public subsidies for infrastructure were pocketed. The phone companies collected over $200 billion in higher phone rates and tax perks, about $2000 per household.
Now they want more money and net neutrality would be an obstacle to their plans for double and triple scooping customers.
Posted by zanzzz (138 comments )
Reply Link Flag
utter hypocrisy...
on one hand, those who oppose net neutrality say it's excessive
gov't regulation...

but the overall telecom bill that the net neutrality amendment
belongs on, already contains such regulations as:

the broadcast flag:

"The mandate forces all future digital television (DTV) tuners to
include "content protection" (aka DRM) technologies. All makers
of HDTV receivers will be required to build their devices to watch
for a "flag" embedded in programs by copyright holders.

When it comes to digital recording, it would be Hollywood's DRM
way or the highway. Want to burn that recording digitally to a
DVD to save hard drive space? Sorry, the DRM lock-box won't
allow it. How about sending it over your home network to
another TV? Not unless you rip out your existing network and
replace it with DRMd routers. And forget about using open
source TV tools. Kind of defeats the purpose of getting a high
definition digital signal, doesn't it?

Responding to pressure from Hollywood, the FCC had originally
mandated the flag, but thanks to an EFF court challenge, ALA v.
FCC, it was thrown out. But that doesn't mean the danger is
behind us. Hollywood has headed to Congress to ask for the flag
again."

and that isn't an excessive regulation?

check out the rest of the bill...it's called the:

Communications, Consumer's Choice, and Broadband
Deployment Act...

there's some scary stuff in there...
Posted by victor_kahn (11 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Just another thing about to be regulated to death!
Everything politicians stick the noses in turns to crap. Social
Security, Taxes, Education, etc. have all been contaminated by
politicians. Once they stick the nose in, your going to suffer.
Both parties are to blame, they just cant leave things alone.
Whats really funny is that somehow they are experts in anything
they take a look at.

Just because you use a computer at home and you use Word,
Explorer, and balance your check, this does not make you a
computer engineer anymore than driving your car to and from
work makes you a an automotive engineer or Richard Petty.

People in this country are sheep, they have abdicated their rights
to the millionaires club that has run this country from
Washington, DC for years. Most people are too busy trying to
make ends meet to keep track of everything these cretins have
done to what was the greatest nation on earth. The Roman
Empire didnt see the end coming either. The only difference
between us and the Roman Empire is that we havent voted a
horse to the Senate, Several dozens Jackasses, but no horse yet.

They are spending 2.8 trillion dollars a year, where does it all
go????????
Posted by fastdodge (32 comments )
Reply Link Flag
As a strong GOP backer, I stand w/John Kerry on this one...
As a strong GOP backer who raised funds, wrote op-eds and appeared on talk radio in support of George W. Bush in 2004, I stand with John Kerry on the issue of net neutrality:

"On Wednesday in the Senate Commerce Committee I warned that those of us who believe in net neutrality will block legislation that doesnt get the job done.

It looks like thats the fight were going to have.

The Commerce Committee voted on net neutrality and it failed on an 11-11 tie. This vote was a gift to cable and telephone companies, and a slap in the face of every Internet user and consumer.

It will not stand."

If you've never made a call to your Senator before, this is your day. If you've never emailed him or her, the time is now. Muster the energy and do it.

The future of the incredible value-creation machine we know as the Internet is at stake. Put simply, the carriers wish to pick and choose the winners and losers among content providers: they, not you, will decide the next Google. They, not you, will decide which telephony service, which file-sharing software, which instant-messenger you will use.

How do we know this? Because the carriers have repeatedly told us of their intentions:

"...William L. Smith, chief technology officer for Atlanta-based BellSouth Corp., told reporters and analysts that an Internet service provider such as his firm should be able, for example, to charge Yahoo Inc. for the opportunity to have its search site load faster than that of Google Inc.

Or, Smith said, his company should be allowed to charge a rival voice-over-Internet firm so that its service can operate with the same quality as BellSouth's offering..."

I can find no simpler way to put it: the carriers seek to turn the Internet into cable television. In doing so, they put America's technological leadership position at risk, they endanger the immense and fragile Internet ecosphere, and -- by extension -- they threaten the Internet itself.

Take action today. And tomorrow. And the next day... until the Senate gets the message -- loud and clear -- over the ringing of the lobbyists' cash registers.

<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www.savetheinternet.com" target="_newWindow">http://www.savetheinternet.com</a>
Posted by directorblue (148 comments )
Reply Link Flag
 

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