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Net Net: Net Neutrality Takes A Blow

By - June 12, 2006

(via Melanie)

We’re a bit late on this, but it’s a pretty big subject, and this by no means is the end of the story. The House rejected the net neutrality legislation on Thursday, while approving the larger telecommunications bill (269-152) (PDF). Cnet has an interview with Verizon’s lobbyist, Thomas Tauke, “the most ecstatic…in Washington about now.” Internet freedom advocates of It’s Our Net vows to continue lobbying the Senate to include the Net Neutrality protection amendment. Noting that the web 2.0 front hasn’t taken a united lead in the grassroots Save the Internet campaign, WebPro News wonders aloud if the internet is naturally bound to head the way of TV, toward asymmetric distribution with pacified if dissatisfied users.

Joining the ranks of Amazon, Yahoo and eBay in the call to arms for web freedom, Google publishes the view of “Chief Internet Evangelist” Vint Cerf:

“Allowing broadband carriers to control what people see and do online would fundamentally undermine the principles that have made the Internet such a success…A number of justifications have been created to support carrier control over consumer choices online; none stand up to scrutiny.”

Lawrence Lessig and Robert W. McChesney published a great commentary in a WashPost article (via Blogscoped), the day of the House vote:

“Congress is about to cast a historic vote on the future of the Internet. It will decide whether the Internet remains a free and open technology fostering innovation, economic growth and democratic communication, or instead becomes the property of cable and phone companies that can put toll booths at every on-ramp and exit on the information superhighway.”

Continuing the debate, this weekend Craig Newmark compared Net Neutrality to Martin Luther’s fight, while today a WashPost editorial provides an opposing view.

A compromise to secure a protective amendment is still out of reach in the Senate, which will begin hearings on net neutrality tomorrow and begins voting on amendments as part of the larger communications reform bill next week.

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4 thoughts on “Net Net: Net Neutrality Takes A Blow

  1. I posted about this here:

    Bottom line – I don’t think any of the “net neutrality” advocates have given any thought as to where federal regulations like this will end. Once they’ve regulated how the carriers have to handle traffic – i.e., as a “public utility” kind of thing – FCC style rules will follow.

    If you think the government won’t do that, then I’d call you very naive.

  2. Roman says:

    To James’ point, the government may change the rules, but between the two evils, the government is the one that can guarantee the network’s stability long-term. I think Vint Cerf and other “net neutrality” advocates understand this pretty well.

  3. Another naive question:

    The telcos claim that while they have to pay for the infrastructure, the immensly profitable online advertising businesses get all the benefits. Or something like that.

    On the hand, we look at maybe $15b online advertising in the US for this year. With 200 mio active users, that’s just a little over six dollars per user and month. You know, to finance much of stuff the people want internet access in the first place.

    I haven’t checked the latest DSL prices, but I have a hard time identifying who unfairly profits from whom in such a krass way.

    Just to spin the thing from a different perspective…

  4. Here is Tim Burners-Lee’s views on the topic: