Leading Internet companies including Google, Ebay, IAC, Microsoft, Yahoo and Amazon issued a letter sharply critical of a House bill that would hamstring the FCC from implementing net neutrality regulations, the Washington Post reports.
The bill, championed by House Commerce Committee Chairman Joe Barton (R-Tex.), would allow the FCC to decide disputes about Web access only case by case and would bar the agency from writing detailed rules on the subject. Open-Internet advocates said the bill would make the FCC toothless in the area of net neutrality, which is the concept that companies controlling Internet access should not use that power to block or slow particular Web services.
"We are extremely concerned that legislation before your committee would fail to protect the Internet from discrimination and would deny consumers unfettered access," six companies wrote in a letter to Barton and Rep. Fred Upton (R-Mich.), who is chairman of the panel's subcommittee on telecommunications and the Internet.
"We have urged Congress to adopt network neutrality requirements that are meaningful and enforceable. The provisions in the committee bill achieve neither goal," the letter said.
Rep. Ed Markey of Mass. attacked the measure:
"The 'network neutrality' section of the bill represents a body blow to the Internet community," Markey said. "It removes FCC authority to establish any future rules needed to ensure that consumers and competitors can avail themselves of the Internet experience they enjoy today."