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Score One For Net Neutrality…

By - May 25, 2006

But don’t relax yet. From Wired News:

The House Judiciary Committee on Thursday approved legislation aimed at preventing broadband providers from discriminating against unaffiliated services, content and applications.

Content providers like Google, Microsoft and Yahoo have expressed concerns that they would be forced to pay ISPs extra to ensure consumers can access their content.

The measure, approved by a vote of 20-13, would amend U.S. antitrust law. It would also counter a rival bill from another House committee that wants to encourage network providers to preserve consumers’ ability to freely surf the internet instead of adopting stricter rules.

Yes, but….there’s too much at stake to think this is anything but a temporary victory in a long, drawn out war.

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3 thoughts on “Score One For Net Neutrality…

  1. Matthew Doull says:

    JB – I seriously don’t get this issue. Why is it a good thing to ensure that network infrastructure investment costs must be ENTIRELY borne by the consumer, which is what happens if the purvewors of bandwidth-intensive applications are not allowed to subsidize bandwidth at all. It just means higher broadband prices and slower adoption, doesn’t it?

  2. It is not entirely borne by the consumer. Today, companies with bandwidth-intensive applications must already pay dearly to even connect adequately to the backbone. Allowing the telcos’ proposed Internet “toll roads” will allow every telco touching a packet to “tax” it as they see fit, and this cost will surely be passed to the little guy.. For example, today I buy a song from iTunes for 99 cents. If the telcos get their way, it will probably be around $1.74…99 cents to Apple, and a 25 cent tax to SBC, Verizon, and BellSouth each because it’s a “bandwidth-intensive” transaction. This won’t mean faster adoption; quite the contrary, it is bad policy that will surely kill the Internet as we know it (at least kill off the small start-ups who provide the real innovation but who don’t have the deep pockets needed to pay into the telcos’ “protection racket”).

  3. Agree with the second post. This has nothing to do with consumers. It has to do with the phone companies thinking they “own” the Internet, and want to decide how much each business must pay to get online.

    My question is — how much did the telcos “pay” ARPANET for developing the first packet-switched network? How much did they “pay” the National Science Foundation when it shut down the last vestige of Internet backbone maintained by the public sector? (here in NA, that is) The answer is nothing, unless someone out there disagrees.

    The telcos are jealous b/c the Googles and Yahoos of the world are making big money coming up with services people like to use. If they think they are not being paid enough for bandwidth, then raise prices across the board. Of course they don’t want to do that, so they lobby for a king-maker position granted via legislation.

    The killer irony in Declan’s piece is that some legislators’ voted for Net Neutrality not b/c it was the right thing to do, but b/c of a legislative turf battle.