Who is really surprised to learn that AT&T and Verizon pack more weight around the halls of Congress than Google and Yahoo? The House Committee on Energy and Commerce shot down an amendment by Rep. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) to a telco regulation bill that would have banned a two-tier Internet. The telcos want to be able to charge content providers a premium to ensure speedy delivery of their information. Everyone else would get a lower level of quality.
Markey . . . said the measure "will stifle openness, endanger our global competitiveness, and warp the Web into a tiered Internet of bandwidth haves and have-nots."
"It is the introduction of creeping Internet protectionism into the free and open World Wide Web," Markey said. Markey and several co-sponsors of the amendment said they will continue to fight for it before the House votes.
SaveTheInternet.com, a coalition of public interest groups focused on the issue, saw a silver lining in the vote, however.
We expected that loss. What we did not expected was the narrow margin. By way of comparison, the subcommittee vote was 23-8, which means we should have gotten blown out of the water. We did not. All four targeted Dems by McJoan on Daily Kos flipped to our side, and many of the Congressmen both for and against this campaign mentioned the blogs and angry constituents.There’s a white hot firestorm on the issue on Capitol Hill. No one wants to see the telcos make a radical change to the internet and screw this medium up, except, well, the telcos. And now members of Congress are listening to us. The telcos have spent hundreds of millions of dollars and many years lobbying for their position; we launched four days ago, and have closed a lot of ground. Over the next few months, as the public wakes up, we’ll close the rest of it.