Senator Wyden describes his 'net neutrality' bill- and we have the bill here

Senator Wyden describes his 'net neutrality' bill- and we have the bill here

Summary: Just got off a conference call with U.S. Senator Ron Wyden (D-Oregon).

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TOPICS: Networking
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ron_wyden_1.jpgJust got off a conference call with U.S. Senator Ron Wyden (D-Oregon).

Earlier today, Senator Wyden introduced the Internet Non-Discrimination Act of 2006 - popularly called the Net Neutrality Act.

We have all 15 pages of this act posted in a Gallery. Here's the link

Before I include comments from the conference call, some basic facts about the Act.

The Act's key principles include:

  • Preventing interfering with, blocking, degrading, altering, modifying or changing traffic on the Internet;
  • Prohibiting creation of a priority lane where content providers can buy quicker access to customers, while those who don’t pay the fee are left in the slow lane;
  • Allowing consumers to choose which devices they use to connect to the Internet while they are on the Internet;
  • Ensuring that consumers have non-discriminatory access and service;
  • Having a transparent system whereby consumers, Internet content, and applications companies have access to the rates, terms, and conditions for Internet service.

Here are some of Sen. Wyden's comments to journalists, including myself:

On the legislation's intent: 

This legislation is designed to make sure the country doesn't face an information superhighway strewn with discriminatory hurdles.

Communications companies like Verizon would change the nature of the Internet. The Internet to me stands for equality stands for freedom, and that equal content gets equal kind of treatment. What we do say you cannot make equal content subject to discriminatory treatment.

On the argument that network service providers "built" the Internet because of the expenses they incurred for construction and upkeep- and have a right to charge extra for heavy users of their services;

(Consumers) are already paying to get access to bandwidth. You kind of get the sense big network operators are saying we built he network we own the network. What I am saying no, consumers built network subscribers built the network, they paying for it.

On types of favoritism the Act would allow and prohibit: 

My legislation is still going to allow the purchase of higher speed for additional money just like overnight delivery at the post office. But we are in favor of equal content. I am going to allow discriminatory treatment. I am not going to allow a network operator to say a person who buys on line for J.Crrew can stay on hold for five minutes, and where they make the Banana Republic customer wait 30 minutes.

On the argument some are advancing that enacting net neutrality rules will stifle capital investment in new and emerging Internet and telecommunications technologies: 

Discrimination is going to stifle the risk of innovation.

On the timing he sees for this legislation going forward: 

The Senate is in a very fluid situation. This is a short year because of the election, but a couple of decisions will be made in the next few weeks. A large telecommunication package moves forward, and we are going to try to make sure net neutrality to be part of that legislation.

I then asked Senator Wyden a question about how the bill would protect consumers against covert discrimination - such as server outages and port blocking of content from sources that do not pay fees broadband providers want. 

We think we get at the hidden obstacles. There are provisions against degrading or modifying traffic. There are scores of ways in which network operators could find potential ways to make like difficult for least favorite consumers.
There are a host of examples about stealth obstacles. Those stealth barriers could be a problem. Hearings on the legislation will (discuss) how to excavate and on cover as many as we can. A key provision that says we can make sure (telecom providers) cannot block and degrade traffic will be helpful.

Supporters of the Internet Non-Discrimination Act include nearly a dozen consumer and technology interests including eBay-Skype, pulver.com and Consumers Union. <!--[endif]-->

Topic: Networking

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11 comments
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  • The first step...

    ...in enshrining Internet access as a Constitutional right. Which section or amendment covers Internet access?

    Carl Rapson
    rapson
    • Internet access as a Constitutional right?

      One could certainly make the argument that the Internet is the technological equivalent to the press. Without access, we couldn't flame each other here...;-)
      OTOH, if I read you right, I agree that there is too much "enshrining" going on. I really don't believe the Gummint is the solution to anything. Just show me a problem that is a direct result of not having enough laws...
      handydan918
      • You read me right (nt)

        Carl Rapson
        rapson
  • Problem with proposed law?

    Section (2)(C) on page 10 says that a network operator "shall prevent any activity that is unlawful or illegal under Federal, State, or local law." This sounds like a way to forcibly deputize ISP's to become the Internet Police. How is the ISP to comply with this provision unless they engage in invasive monitoring of the Internet activity of their subscribers? I don't think this was Senator Wyden's intent, but that seems to be the clear reading of the bill's language. I think section (2)(C) should be moved to the prior section (1), which would make it "may" rather than "shall".
    johndoe445566
    • The ISP does not have

      the authority to impose law on the subscribers with out them BEING the law. more secret police, shades of China!

      RoutyRastus
      RoutyRastus
    • RE: Senator Wyden describes his 'net neutrality' bill

      I believe what we would get is bias news- to say the least. Could the big telecoms filter our news the same way- probably not? Or should say not at first. By giving the power away <a href="http://www.realcourseworkwriting.com/coursework/">homework help</a> to the big telecoms to provide fast access to sites that pay their proposed "Information Tax", we consumers will be limited to the narrow band of highly paid for news, information and entertainment.
      adamjones342
  • Maybe the short lived life cycle here is good

    becauswe the author of this article did not proof read his type. PLEASE, proof read before you post. This makes me wonder just what education was like were you went.
    RoutyRastus
    RoutyRastus
  • Hey! This might help us choose our phones!

    Listen, we know the phone carriers are crippling features on phones during their development to make sure wifi, bluetooth and DUN doesn't impact their data stream. Verizon is the worst. Check out http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,1759,1933323,00.asp for their latest phone for an example. They've done this on many phones.

    My point is this -- those bullets in this bill could be interpreted to say that customers may choose their technology -- and somebody could argue that as long as a phone meets a standard, phone companies shouldn't be able to tie services to them. Europe does one thing right -- you can buy almost any phone over there, toss a sim card in, and off you go. Phones are more expensive, but you get a phone that has the tech you want. That's a deal.
    ricochet_z
  • Internet non-discrimination ...

    Perhaps ZDNET could simply post a PDF file of the whole bill rather than 15 separate pages.
    Update victim
  • Text of bill

    Bravo, Senator Wyden!

    I used Thomas, the Library of Congress system that provides access to the activities of Congress, and found that the text has not yet been put online. It should be up there soon. Here's how to find it:

    Go to <http://thomas.loc.gov/> and search for "S.2360" (this is the bill number - each year they start over again at 1). The actual title of the bill is "A bill to ensure and promote a free and open Internet for all Americans".

    Also the link to Sen. Wyden's web page is wrong. It's located at <http://wyden.senate.gov/>.
    tmeadow@...
  • A free society needs Net Neutrality

    Congress is debating this issue now. Please contact your
    Congressman and Media outlets about this issue. Read on...

    If all of our news were to be filtered by, lets say, North Korea, I
    believe what we would get is bias news- to say the least. Could
    the big telecoms filter our news the same way- probably not? Or
    should say not at first. By giving the power away to the big
    telecoms to provide fast access to sites that pay their proposed
    "Information Tax", we consumers will be limited to the narrow
    band of highly paid for news, information and entertainment.
    How will the small news outlets be able to be heard? How will
    any small business or organization be heard?

    Am I exaggerating this issue?

    What if we allowed a corporation to own all the clean air- they
    would sell us all the clean air we wanted or could pay for? You
    might say, that is ridiculous and air is free and can't be owned.
    What about the news, e-mails, information and media you used.
    Should that be free like the air? If not, what would you pay for
    this information? Why would we have to pay at all?

    Why do the people who transfer our information get confused
    about their roles as a utility in the name of higher profits? Don?t
    they already charge us enough for high-speed Internet service?
    Now they want more money. Sounds like simple greed and a
    power trip.

    -David Ladwig
    Chicago
    D. Ladwig