Net Neutrality All The Rage this Week

They haven’t killed net neutrality yet, but I think House Republicans are pulling out their hatchets.

Public Knowledge’s Policy Blog takes note of several events in Congress this week where net neutrality is at the forefront.

It all starts Tuesday at 5 Pm when the House Energy and Commerce Committee‘s Telecommunications and Internet Subcommittee starts a markup session to go over draft legislation that might include net neutrality provisions.

Committee Chairman Joe Barton told C-SPAN that he thinks he has enough votes to get out of subcommittee and committtee. The leading Dems on that panel think that there aren’t enough net neutrality protections, and they’re probably right.

Apparently, some black Democrats are being won over to Upton’s side due to the imminent inclusion of anti-red-lining language, which would prevent the Bells from only serving affluent customers with their new broadband-based cable TV services.

Tuesday’s 5 PM will mostly consistent of statements made by committee members — the real sausage making begins Wednesday morning at 10 AM.

Then on Friday PK’s blog says that the House Judiciary Committee will have an Anti-Trust Task Force hearing on telcos and net neutrality, but I can’t find any listing on the Committee’s website.

The meat of the telecom bill is to create a national franchise for cable TV, so that the new entrants to this market, AT&T and Verizon, don’t have to negotiate individually with local municipalities. They just would have to agree to basic franchise fee and nationalized rules, and then go at it. Municipalities would lose the ability to bargain for higher fees to fund public access TV, and other public service channels.

Benton’s Headlines has a good roundup of links to articles on the House bill.


3 responses to “Net Neutrality All The Rage this Week”

  1. […] Another interesting article that explains a other issues by James Seng can be read here notably the way that Telecom companies are trying to make sure that investors see how interesting they are and how these changes will help that. And yet another article by Andrew Schmitt that also discusses the fact that Internet users are not equal in the way they use the Internet, which obviously opens the debate on whether heavy users should contribute to the cost of the Internet bandwidth. A post on the media geek also recounts how some of the politicians are starting to see why the pro telecom bill is not necessarily good for their constitituants and how republicans are “pulling out the hatchets”… […]

  2. Colin Rhinesmith Avatar

    There was good discussion this week about Net Neutrality at the Freedom to Connect ( conference in DC this week, as well. I was there to audioblog the conference, for the Berkman Center for Internet & Society, where I work as a staff assistant.

    If folks are interested, I posted my interviews with a number of conference speakers and attendees at AudioBerkman ( and on the Media Policy Blog (www.mediapolicyblog), where I guest blog. There’s also audio I recorded from Rep. Rick Boucher’s talk at the conference, where he laid out his views on Net Neutrality and Video Franchising and what the next month or so looks like in the legislative timeline. You can listen to audio from his talk here:

  3. oldhats Avatar

    Colin, Thanks for the information. I thought the Martin Geddes quote from the conference was particularly interesting: “Be careful of inviting the legislative process because the secondary consequences of their [Congress’] actions can be enormous. Government has a way of turning on people.”

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