TELECOM Digest OnLine - Sorted: Congress Must Be Pressured to Preserve Net Neutrality

Congress Must Be Pressured to Preserve Net Neutrality

Various writers (
Wed, 14 Jun 2006 15:13:59 -0500

Congress Must Be Pressured to Preserve Internet Neutrality
From Mercury News, June 14, 2006

The proposition that the Internet should remain an open, decentralized
network where all users and Web sites are treated equally suffered a
blow last week when the House of Representatives defeated an "Internet
neutrality" amendment that was part of a larger bill to reform
telecommunications laws.

And on Tuesday, Senate Commerce Committee chair Ted Stevens, R-Alaska,
who is crafting companion legislation, said Internet neutrality isn't
likely to be part of his bill, either.

But this battle is too important to give up. Without Internet-
neutrality rules, the telephone and cable companies that control
Internet access are sure to go ahead with a plan to divide the
Internet into a two-tiered network. Companies that pay them a toll
will see their content and services cruise at high speeds. Everyone
else will be stuck in a slow lane. Worse, cable and phone companies
would have the freedom to decide who gets quick access and who
doesn't. As a result, consumer choice and innovation will suffer.

Senators who support Net neutrality -- most Democrats and a few
Republicans -- must threaten to derail the entire telecom bill unless
it preserves openness and choice on the Internet.

A campaign launched by consumer groups and major Internet companies
including eBay, Google, Microsoft and Yahoo should help. It included a
letter from eBay CEO Meg Whitman urging the millions of buyers and
sellers who use the Internet auction site to show their support for
Internet neutrality. As a result, tens of thousands of letters from
eBay users are expected to be delivered to senators before next
Tuesday's committee vote on the Stevens bill. Google, too, has used
its Web site to urge users to contact members of Congress.

The telecom and cable companies want lawmakers to believe Internet
neutrality would amount to burdensome new regulations. But Internet
neutrality isn't new. It was the law until late last year, when a U.S.
Supreme Court decision and a vote by the Federal Communications
Commission changed things. One of the best arguments for it is that
Internet neutrality has worked.

The neutrality rules have allowed innovators to create content and
services without worrying that they would be squeezed out by cable or
phone companies who didn't like what they were doing. Absent Internet
neutrality, phone companies would not have allowed the Internet
telephone industry to blossom. Without it, cable companies won't let
the burgeoning Internet-video industry come into its own. And
industries ranging from health care to finance, retailing to
education, will face huge new tolls to guarantee access to the Net's
high-speed lanes.

If you want the Internet to remain a force for innovation and free
speech, urge our senators not to sell off cyberspace to special
interests. You can add your voice to the growing chorus of Internet
neutrality supporters at or

This article is from Mercury News. If you found it informative and
valuable, we strongly encourage you to visit their website and
register an account to view all their articles on the web. Support
quality journalism.

[TELECOM Digest Editor's Note: You are strongly urged to register
your thoughts -- either way -- on this issue at the two web sites
mentioned in this essay. PAT]

Post Followup Article Use your browser's quoting feature to quote article into reply
Go to Next message: Various writers: "Rebuttal to Washington Post Editorial on Net Neutrality"
Go to Previous message: Various writers: "Senate Negotiations Continue Over Net Neutrality"
TELECOM Digest: Home Page