Thursday, June 08, 2006

Net Neutrality Bill Scheduled for Vote

Will wonders never cease? The Telecom Bill that was scheduled for a vote Friday is actually being debated tonight after Tom DeLay (R-TX) gives his farewell speech. Apparently Congress is ready for their summer recess. I was hoping that this legislation would be postponed until the fall session to give time for a full debate and education on the issue, but I guess that Members of Congress want to appear that they are doing something.

One of the amendments being proposed to the Telecom legislation by Rep. Lemar Smith (R-TX) will give the FCC main responsibility for resolving net neutrality disputes. Another amendment proposed by Rep. Ed Markey (D-MA) has a bit more teeth to it defining net neutrality. This situation is a classic case of a red herring with the pols passing some toothless legislation just to satisfy a noisy minority.

The Washington Post published an editorial today written by Larry Lessig and Bob McChesney to sway the opinion of the House before the vote. I generally respect what Larry has to say but this editorial was written as if the telcos and cablecos were the new USSR. They compared AT&T, Verizon, and Comcast to Tony Soprano. Their alarmist point of view is totally out-of-line since these companies have not violated any principles of net neutrality. They have only proposed that Internet service providers can pay extra to guarantee a consistent user experience. Net Neutrality is a ghost chasing a red herring.

Let’s hope that common sense prevails and our elected officials listen to the arguments of the engineers from the telephone and cable industry; otherwise, the Internet that Larry and Bob warn about as any packet regardless of type fights its way through the Internet like autos through Roman streets. Their argument is an oxymoron because they want the government to regulate the Internet to maintain its openness based on light-handed regulation.

There is too much misinformation being propagated by organizations like MoveOn.org and the American Library Association. Let’s hope that Congress does the right thing and just pass some weak amendments like that of Lemar Smith so they can tell these groups that they did something about Net Neutrality.

Tag: Net Neutrality