Dems Push For Stronger Net Neutrality Rules

While conservatives complain that the FCC and the Obama administration have gone too far with net neutrality (with some, like Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), going so far as to sponsor a bill to strip the FCC of any authority to regulate Internet access), Democrats have veered off into another direction. Democrats like Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-WA) and Sen. Al Franken (D-MN) think that the FCC has not gone far enough.

This week the Senators introduced a billed called the "Internet Freedom, Broadband Promotion, and Consumer Protection Act of 2011." The bill would extend net neutrality rules to wireless networks. In light of consumer complaints and Verizon and MetroPCS already filing lawsuits, politicians believe that more is needed to combat practices that negatively impact consumers’ rights.

"The recent FCC ruling on net neutrality does not do nearly enough to protect consumers, and this bill is designed to maintain a free and open Internet," Franken said in a statement. Last week, during a speech Franken said that net neutrality is the "free speech issue of our time" and that the new FCC rules "will create essentially two Internets."

The new bill bans ISPs from doing a number of things including charging content or application providers access fees, prioritizing content, and "refusing to interconnect on just and reasonable terms and conditions." The bill also makes it clear that all of these rules apply to all forms of Internet access.

The chances of this bill passing in the senate are debatable, and in the House the chances are somewhere between slim and none.

Source: Ars Technica

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  1. 0
    Neeneko says:

    Well, if you want to be technical, SOME were common carriers while others were not.  Dial-up and DSL was covered, but Cable was not, which gave the cable providers a huge advantage (which is one of the reasons you see so many more people on cable modems despite it being an inferior technology) and let them pull ahead…. DSL providers complained but did so during republican dominance so rather then leveling the playing field in terms of everyone having to play fair, they deregulated the DSL providers (but dial-up is still covered).


  2. 0
    greevar says:

    The problem is, that they were common carriers at one time, but they managed to get that changed. I don’t think a simple re-classification will solve the problem if it can be changed back as easily. I think any network access provider that transmits data to any and every peer/node on the network should be held as a common carrier without exception. I also think that ISPs should not be allowed to merge with content companies as it should be considered consipiracy to create an illegal monopoly.

    Man, I wish we could go back to the days when it was illegal for corporations to buy, or merge with, other corporations. They claim to be legal persons, but can buy and sell these "persons" despite ownership of another person being illegal. Which is it? Are they persons or a thing that can be bought and sold? You can’t have both. Well, apparently they can…


  3. 0
    Neeneko says:

    That was what I was thinking with ‘simple solution’.  If people have hundreds of ISPs to choose from (again), competition will sort things out pretty quickly… but this requires decoupling ISPs from the physical lines again and that doesn’t even seem to be on the table anymore.

  4. 0
    Neeneko says:

    I have a feeling that no matter what outcome we have with NN, it will be the wrong one.

    The best solution (IMHO) is a pretty simple framework…. but regulators LOVE complex solutions with lots of wiggle room to embed carrots and sticks to specific groups… so whatever we end up with will probably be a convoluted mess…

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