Net Neutrality Roars Back Onto The Congressional Agenda

Net neutrality advocates led by Congressman Edward Markey (D-MA) are working overtime to turn net neutrality into an election year issue. Markey, who chairs the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Telecommunications and the Internet, plans to introduce legislation later this month and push for hearings in both chambers. Could net neutrality actually make it through Congress this time?

Eh, not likely. Though ISPs have proven their desire to block BitTorrent, ban political text messages, and censor concert lyrics, Markey’s effort will keep the issue alive for Presidential contenders, rather than result in enacted law.

The leading Democratic presidential contenders — Hillary Clinton, John Edwards of North Carolina, Barack Obama and Bill Richardson — all have endorsed tougher neutrality safeguards to prevent broadband operators from potentially acting as content gatekeepers.

Details of the Markey bill were sketchy, but sources said the measure may be an updated version of the 11-page bill he introduced in May 2006 when broader Republican-backed telecom legislation was pending. Various ideas are being bandied about for the new iteration, including the possibility of mandating nationwide field hearings on the subject.

Congressman seeks to revive network neutrality debate [Technology Daily]
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  1. ManchuCandidate says:

    Good for him. I, for one, would probably be vomiting in rage if fun oddball sites were shoved over to the slow lane while the inanities of went unimpeded.

  2. taney71 says:

    I love politics but I fail to see how this will be a major political issue. It isn’t so clear cut of a concern to the general public. I, myself, can hardly get worked up over this.

    When one talks about issues that split the Republican and Democratic parties you hear about healthcare, gun restrictions, abortion, Iraq, and terrorism — not “net neutrality.” Talk about an inside the beltway policy issue. Ugh. I board just thinking about it.

  3. AT203 says:

    The analogy that I find most helpful in the net-neutrality debate is that of the Interstate Highway system. An open Internet is an infrastructure issue. Having a neutral meduim enables the businesses and consumers, the endpoints, to focus on their respective business.

    We would not dream of having the Interstate Highway system be a patchwork of uncertain and conflicting local regulations. Uniformity and predictability drive economic prosperity.

    The Internet needs to be a neutral medium, so that the economic production that relies on it can continue to flourish.

  4. MrEvil says:

    What would work best is if the wires were public property. But unfortunately there’s no way that can happen at this point. However, other western nations have shown that regulation does not neccessarily stifle innovation and improvement. Right now we have few to no regulations and the regulations we do have eliminate any incentive the major telecos have to compete and improve their services in the interests of one-upsmanship.

    What the Telecos want to do now is start a protection racket. Want to do business online? better pay AT&T who runs the lines between your ISP and your customers’ so that people get faster access to your site instead of your competitors. Sounds an awful lot like a protection racket to me. Don’t pay and your business gets disrupted.

  5. Half Beast says:

    @AT203: Excellent comparison there.
    Everyone deserves equal plumbing in this vast series of tubes.

  6. tadowguy says:

    Speaking of trucks and tubes, is Stevens in jail yet?

  7. PsychicPsycho3 says:

    Edward Markey is my hero.

  8. Witera33it says:

    What should make this important is the concept of freedom of expression and our right to exchange information. These rights should never be in the hands of private organizations with private agendas.
    Net neutrality is also about providing access to everyone at fair and competitive prices. To prevent the privileged from getting better connections than everyone else. The more access everyone has to the internet the more opportunities are going to available to everyone. Censorship and preferential treatment just perpetuates the growing divide between the classes in a new and exciting medium that already provides services and information to people that might be otherwise unavailable.

  9. EternalVigilance says:

    @Witera33it: I’m certain that when people read that argument in the NYT or WaPo or WSJ, or on AOL or Yahoo or Google, or hear it on ABCNNBCBS, they’ll be completely supportive (as am I).

    Until then, however…when’d you start your visit to this country? ;-)

  10. JervixServiceJuice says:

    @Witera33it: Here Here!
    This is one of the issues I feel deeply and could actually bleat about earnestly.
    I SWEAR, if somebody fucks up my INTERTOOBESâ„¢ I’m going to morph into an angry raving militant Luddite.

  11. charrington says:

    What’s the deal? Gawker Media sites keeps timing out….
    The problem’s not at my end. Fox News and load instantly.

    Oh, duh.

  12. biminitwst says:

    Actually, in many states, the best roads are reserved for people with money in their pockets.
    In every major city in Florida, for example, You can PAY TOLLS and ride the smooth superhighway.
    If you are in your old car on your way to punch in at Wal Mart, Circuit City, or McDonald’s , you get to use the gridlocked, potholed surface streets.
    Welcome to the future of the internets.
    If you have never before written to your senator or congressman, this might be a good time to start.

  13. HalfGlassFull says:

    Good article, but why is it accompanied by a picture of Ron Paul needing a haircut?

  14. Skiffer says:

    @AT203: I thought innovation and new ideas led to economic growth and prosperity…maybe that’s just me…

  15. anatak says:

    Someone please get Ted Stevens involved…. please, please, please. Is it at all possible to get the 84 year old, bridge-to-nowhere man to explain the internet to us again?