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Net Neutrality an 2007 Issue

By - January 10, 2007

The Times reports on new legislation, emboldened by AT&T’s recent concessions:

Senior lawmakers, emboldened by the recent restrictions on AT&T and the change in control of Congress, have begun drafting legislation that would prevent high-speed Internet companies from charging content providers for priority access.

The first significant so-called net neutrality legislation of the new Congressional session was introduced Tuesday by Senator Byron L. Dorgan, Democrat of South Dakota, and Senator Olympia J. Snowe of Maine, one of the few Republicans in Congress to support such a measure.

“The success of the Internet has been its openness and the ability of anyone anywhere in this country to go on the Internet and reach the world,” Mr. Dorgan said. “If the big interests who control the pipes become gatekeepers who erect tolls, it will have a significant impact on the Internet as we know it.”…

…Despite the flurry of activity, the proposals face significant political impediments and no one expects that they will be adopted quickly. But the fight promises to be a bonanza for lobbyists and a fund-raising tool for lawmakers. It pits Internet giants like Google, Yahoo, eBay and Amazon, which support the legislation, against telecommunication titans like Verizon, AT&T and large cable companies like Comcast.

The debate may also affect the plans of the companies to develop new services and to consider certain mergers or acquisitions.

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3 thoughts on “Net Neutrality an 2007 Issue

  1. Alex says:

    The “concessions” that AT&T gave weren’t really concessions.

    In the bill, AT&T added language that allows them to use their own proprietary protocol to control traffic, which effectively cancels net neutrality.

  2. Mike Chapman says:

    Byron Dorgan, of North Dakota, is an extremely effective Senator and a real champion of the little guy.

  3. Trogdor says:

    “… the fight promises to be a bonanza for lobbyists and a fund-raising tool for lawmakers …”

    Both of which give me the sinking feeling that I, a normal individual citizen working for a small business, am already screwed.

    It is interesting, though, that giant companies making giant windfall profits are just fine, so long as they’re *new* ones like Google, and not *old* ones like Shell.