Thursday, May 8, 2008


House panel chair offers network neutrality bill[r]
BY Terry Bankert 5/8/08 early edition
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UGLY MONOPOLIES CAN OCCUR IN ANY INDUSTRY "Americans have come to expect the Internet to be open to everyone," Conyers said in a statement. "The Internet was designed without centralized control, without gatekeepers for content and services. If we allow companies with monopoly or duopoly power to control how the Internet operates, network providers could have the power to choose what content is available."[n] We are leaving a republican lead free market era that has destroyed the American economy.We should fight any monopoly domestic or international.[trb] The net neutrality issue has been spotlighted by a series of incidents in which network operators, such as Comcast Corp and Verizon Wireless were accused of hindering certain online data moving over their networks, such as file-sharing or text-messaging. [r]

CABLE INTEREFENCE WITH FREE SPEECH Two senior House Judiciary Committee members introduced a bill Thursday that could subject cable and telephone companies to antitrust
enforcement if they unfairly handle Internet traffic.[c] FAIRLY Sponsored by Judiciary Chairman John Conyers, D-Mich., and Rep. Zoe Lofgren, D-Calif., the bill would require Internet service providers to operate their networks so all content, applications and services are treated equally.[c]

NET NEUTRALITY "If we allow companies with monopoly or duopoly power to control how the Internet operates, network providers could have the power to choose what content is available," Conyers said in a statement.[r]

COMCAST, THE PREDETORY IS AT IT AGAIN Major Internet service providers, such as cable giant Comcast Corp. (CMCSA, CMCSK), have been accused of slowing the Internet connections of consumers using file-sharing software such as BitTorrent.[c] The bill squarely addresses the issue of the enormous market power of the telephone and cable companies as the providers of 98 percent of the broadband service in the country," said Gigi Sohn, president of Public Knowledge. "The bill restores the principle of nondiscrimination that allowed the Internet to flourish in the dial-up era, making certain that the same freedom and innovation will flourish in the broadband era without burdensome regulation."[n]

SOME SAY IT IS NOT NEEDED But broadband providers and some congressional Republicans have argued that net neutrality legislation isn't necessary. The broadband market is becoming more competitive and net neutrality regulations could hamper investment in broadband networks, some Republicans said during a hearing this week.[n] At issue is the so-called "network neutrality" controversy that pits open-Internet advocates against some service providers, who say they need to take reasonable steps to manage ever-growing traffic on their networks.[r] Some of network neutrality complaints have centered on charges that broadband companies were engaged in anti-competitive conduct, while others involved charges of political censorship.[r] The Conyers and Lofgren bill shares the same goal as an Internet measure sponsored by Rep. Edward Markey, D-Mass., although Markey's bill doesn't include the antitrust enforcement powers.[c] Antitrust issues fall under the jurisdiction of the Judiciary Committee. Markey's bill, however, falls under the Energy and Commerce Committee, where he chairs the Telecommunications Subcommittee.[c]

NET WORK NEUTRALITY Markey and Conyers have offered competing bills on "network neutrality" in the past, which has caused some tension. Network neutrality is a longstanding Internet principle that seeks to treat all Internet traffic and content equally.[c]

CONSUMER PROTECTION Markey spokeswoman Jessica Schafer said the staff is reviewing the Conyers and Lofgren bill. "It shows the widespread interest in protection consumers," Schafer said.[c] FCC Chairman Kevin Martin has said that his agency was ready, if necessary, to step in and stop broadband providers from interfering with users' access.[r]

Posted here by Terry Bankert ...
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[n] The New York Times
[c] CNN [trb] Comments of Terry Bankert to include CAP headlines. 54203


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