Net firms lash out at anti-net neutrality bill

Net firms lash out at anti-net neutrality bill

Summary: 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.


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."


Topics: Browser, Government, Government US

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  • Neutrality not an option

    Internet "neutrality" is not really the only issue; Internet access offers an even more pressing issue. Prices for US consumers for broadband are the highest in the world by far, as much as 80% higher than some countries, and those consumers get higher speeds, up to 30-50 Megs, even more!!
    The reason is that Internet access for competitive packages of services is restricted by the legislatively granted monopolies, which may have served their purpose long ago in giving cable and telco a way to recoup their investment in infrastructure. (Why? They wanted to make the money, and we taxpayers subsidized the process! Give me a break!)
    The real answer is to allow any competitor unrestricted accesss to the cable, telephone, wireless, whatever system, infrastructure, the way the original telcos were originally required to allow after breakup.
    That way a competitive marketplace would constantly evolve packages of services that would include entertainment and communications, but could expand to hundreds of concepts, like "always on" home security and "home management" of applicances, heating, AC. starting the microwave at 5.17PM for dinner, lots more.
    How about "shared software", centrally served off-site, with always on access, from anywhere, at any time, offering everything from cell phone conversations, to video, to "work on the go."
    The horizons are limitless, and cost less when unfettered access is offered for consumer and business choice. To do less is a disservice to users, consumers. social and nonprofits,institutions, and business.
    And not to overlook the issue of net neutrality,let's just remember that censorship is like dandelions; they spread like crazy given the most limited opportunity.
    The recent furor over electricty/power deregulation is a good example of what happens when those who control the "content" production(power) get to make choices about who delivers the content (the distribution system).
    A competitive marketplace which forces the signal distributors (cable, telcos, primarily) to give access to competitive bundles of services guarantees that the free marketplace will set competitive prices and terms of service that give consumers the most value for their money. Anything less just fattens immensely the profits of the monopoly providers like existing cable and telco providers.
    Proof? Since Cable dereg without guaranteeed competitive access, cable rates are up over 300% for Basic in just a few years. Did you know that Cable could offer two or even three times the broadband speeds they now offer, for less money?More? Since telco deregulation and forced competitive access for telco tradional services, long distance rates are down over 90% for most calls and locations, not just in the US but around the world! And now there's Internet "telephone" (VOIP)services. World wide access for virtually nothing; very low cost.
    Does "managed content" and restriced access work for you?
    Not for me.