Friday, June 09, 2006

House K.O.'s Net Neutrality

House K.O.'s Net Neutrality :

Legislative language to make the controversial concept of network neutrality the law of the land failed in the U.S. House of Representatives late Thursday night.

In an amendment to an otherwise widely supported telecom reform act, lawmakers rejected by a vote of 269-152 a measure to require broadband providers such as AT&T and Comcast to treat all Internet traffic in a nondiscriminatory price manner.

Under the proposal by Rep. Ed Markey (D-Mass.), the telecom and cable giants that control virtually every broadband connection in the United States would be unable to implement their proposed business models to create a two-tiered Internet based on bandwidth consumption.

In a roll call vote, 58 Democrats joined 211 Republicans in turning back the measure. Only 11 Republicans joined the 140 Democrats voting for the amendment.


"Unfortunately, the House voted today to protect the big phone and cable companies at the expense of preserving an open Internet," the It's Our Net Coalition said in a statement.

"We are not surprised at the outcome, but we are disappointed that the House has abandoned net neutrality."

The issue now moves to the U. S. Senate, where Commerce Committee Chairman Ted Stevens (R-Alaska) has scheduled a third hearing on his own telecom reform package Tuesday morning.

Like the House-approved bill, Stevens' proposal showcases national video franchising. It leaves issues of network neutrality to further FCC study.

Senators Olympia Snowe, a Maine Republican, and Democrat Byron Dorgan, of North Dakota, plan to push for network neutrality language similar to Markey's to be included in the legislation.

"We are confident that the Senate understands and appreciates the importance of net neutrality to the Internet and to the American economy and will take steps to preserve the Internet as a vibrant... open marketplace," It's Our Net stated.

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