Net neutrality battle will restart in January

The battle over net neutrality is back on. Sen. Byron Dorgan (D-N.

The battle over net neutrality is back on. Sen. Byron Dorgan (D-N.D.) will introduce a bill in January to preserve neutrality, Reuters reports. Dorgan feels legislation is "definitely necessary," said Frannie Wellings, telecom counsel to Dorgan. But others think the matter could be effectively handled by the FCC. The agency could simply add a principle to its guidelines on network management, said Richard Wiley, a partner at law firm Wiley Rein, the Washington Post reported.

It is possible that most effective means is legislation, but I think we need to be realistic and know that Congress has a lot on its plate today ..... with the economic conditions we have.

AT&T spokesman Jim Cicconi, speaking at a panel at the University of Nebraska, said no legislation is necessary since the public would abandon providers that discriminate against content, New Scientist reports. But that argument supposes that consumers have actual choice. Even where there are two broadband providers in an area, that's still a duopoly and if discrimination becomes standard operating procedure, then consumers have no way to voice opposition.

"The telephone and cable companies say trust them," said Markham Erickson, director of the Open Internet Coalition, a trade group that lobbies for net neutrality, with members such as Google and eBay Inc. "We will trust but verify."