Inouye amendment fails for net neutrality

ailing the defeat of the Snowe-Dorgan amendment, Sen. Daniel Inouye, the top-ranking Democrat, offered a broader amendment. That one failed too and the telecom bill passed.

More details on net neutrality vote yesterday, from Failing the defeat of the Snowe-Dorgan amendment, Sen. Daniel Inouye, the top-ranking Democrat, offered a broader amendment, including not just Net neutrality language but also addressed video franchising and universal service. That lost 12-10. The full bill then passed the committee 15-7.

In a statement after the votes, Verizon urged the Senate to act swiftly on the bill, claiming that delays in boosting video competition will cost consumers billions of dollars a year in higher cable bills.

But Sen. Ron Wyden, an Oregon Democrat, said Wednesday that he would seek to prevent a floor vote on the telecommunications bill because it did not include extensive Net neutrality regulations. "I will object to any further action on this telecommunications bill until it includes a strong net neutrality provisions that will truly benefit consumers and small business," Wyden said, a promise that has teeth because the Senate often works through unanimous consent.

ZDNet blogger Mitch Radcliffe commented on the decision:

"Farewell, open networks and open standards. Soon every packet will be subject to inspection and surcharges based on what it carries and who sent it or where it is going. ... In the Republicans' version of the bill, which will likely be passed, there is a "consumers' bill of rights" (click for the draft legislation) within a new universal service regime based on carrier services that are "as competitively and technologically neutral as possible." Unfortunately, the legislation leaves the definition of what's possible to the carriers.

"Carriers are already free to charge for dedicated services. The Internet is not architected on a foundation favorable for dedicated services, which is where the carriers want to ghettoize Web services that won't pay a surcharge for their success. At the same time, the carriers enjoy monopoly or duopoly pricing power at both ends of their network. All the Senate is doing is clearing the way for carriers, which are already very profitable, to make more money without any additional investments in improved services."