Senators grapple with Net neutrality

Summary:Several are troubled by prospect of infrastructure providers charging content providers, shutting down innovators.

Some highlights from News.com's coverage of the Senate hearings on Net neutrality:

  • Sen. Ron Wyden, an Oregon Democrat, said at the hearing that he plans to introduce a bill that "will make sure all information (transmitted over broadband networks) is made available on the same terms so that no bit is better than another one." The provisions would bar broadband providers from favoring one company's site over another (for example, he said, J. Crew over L.L. Bean), from giving their own content preferential treatment and from creating "private networks that are superior to the Internet access they offer consumers generally."
  • Referring to a recent Washington Post report in which a Verizon executive said Google and others shouldn't expect to enjoy a "free lunch" on its pipes, Sen. Byron Dorgan said such reasoning was flawed. "It is not a free lunch...(broadband subscribers have) already paid the monthly toll...Those lines and that access is being paid for by the consumer."
  • "We risk losing the Internet as a catalyst for consumer choice, for economic growth, for technological innovation and for global competitiveness," Vint Cerf of Google said.
  • Vonage CEO Jeffrey Citron told senators that his company, a major voice over Internet Protocol provider, has firsthand experience with impediments caused by lack of network neutrality. The firm has accused several smaller telecommunications companies of blocking its services. He urged the committee to consider laws that would supply "legal recourse" for companies that face such discrimination.
  • "The fact is that our regulations and our laws need to be modernized to reflect the realities of technology today to create more incentives for companies to invest so that we have those broadband networks that are higher quality, that are faster, that give consumers more competition," said Sen. John Ensign, R-Nev., who introduced a generally pro-business, deregulatory broadband bill last summer that has not yet been taken up for debate.

 

Topics: Broadband, Networking

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