[TriLUG] At least Price seems to get it.
cristobalpalmer at gmail.com
Thu Jun 22 18:51:54 EDT 2006
Y'all may have heard about the less-than-happy news from the House on
Net Neutrality. Perhaps we should call our Senators?
Got the following from Rep. David Price just now. It's pretty good.
June 22, 2006
Thank you for contacting me regarding "net neutrality." I supported
the Markey "net neutrality" amendment and appreciate the opportunity
to explain my views on this matter.
As you may know, "net neutrality" is a term used to describe the
principle that all content traveling over the Internet should be
treated equally by the owners of the networks that provide Internet
service to consumers. Contrary to recent claims that "net neutrality"
would represent unprecedented government regulation of the Internet,
the concept is nothing new. From its inception, the Internet was
designed to allow everyone with an Internet connection to access or
provide information, goods or services on an equal footing. This
free-market design has been largely responsible for the revolutionary
impact that the Internet has had on global commerce, innovation,
information-sharing, and so many other aspects of our day-to-day
In addition to being embodied in the original design of the Internet,
"net neutrality" is also a matter of federal law. The
Telecommunications Act of 1996 classified Internet service as a
"telecommunications service." As such, it has been subject to certain
federal requirements, including a provision that telephone companies
provide equal treatment to all content traveling over their Internet
In the years since passage of the Telecommunications Act, there has
been a significant change in how Internet users access the net. In
1996, access was provided almost exclusively over dial-up networks.
Today, however, most Internet users have switched to broadband
technologies such as cable Internet and digital subscriber lines
(DSL), which the 1996 law did not envision.
In 2002, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) issued a ruling
that cable Internet would be classified as an "information service"
rather than a "telecommunications service," and thus would not be
subject to the neutrality requirements of the Telecommunications Act.
This ruling sparked a legal battle that was not resolved until August
2005, when the Supreme Court effectively upheld the FCC ruling.
Immediately following the Supreme Court decision, the FCC issued a
second ruling holding that if cable could be considered an
"information service," then so would DSL. As a result, the vast
majority of the Internet (up to 98 percent, according to some
estimates) is no longer subject to "net neutrality" requirements.
In the months since the FCC ruling, several major cable and DSL
companies have indicated that they may begin offering preferential
access to their networks in exchange for additional fees. Under such a
system, the owner of a website or online service would be able to pay
for faster delivery, increased security, a guaranteed amount of
bandwidth, or perhaps other advanced services. Content from providers
not willing or able to pay for these preferential services would be
delivered to consumers at relatively slower speeds, resulting for the
first time in a "tiered" Internet in which not every content provider
would be treated the same.
The current debate over "net neutrality" is essentially a debate over
whether Congress should allow cable and DSL companies to proceed with
these plans or reinstate the neutrality requirements that governed the
Internet until the FCC ruling last year. As you may know, this debate
has occurred as part of a larger debate over the Communications
Opportunity, Promotion, and Enhancement Act (H.R. 5252). As drafted,
H.R. 5252 would prohibit broadband companies from blocking or
degrading legal Internet content but would not prohibit companies from
moving establishing "tiered" Internet plans.
Because a "tiered" system would represent a significant departure from
the Internet as we know it, I believe we should weigh very carefully
the potential effects of such a system. In particular, I am concerned
that a tiered Internet would provide a competitive advantage to
certain content providers, essentially eliminating the free-market
online economy that "net neutrality" has fostered and potentially
stifling online innovation.
During floor consideration of H.R. 5252, Rep. Ed Markey offered an
amendment to reinstate net neutrality. The amendment would have
allowed network operators to offer advanced services as long as they
treated similar "types" of content the same. I supported the Markey
amendment, but it was defeated by a vote of 152 to 269. I then voted
against H.R. 5252, which passed by a vote of 321 to 101. It is unclear
whether the Senate will take up H.R. 5252 or a similar bill before the
109th Congress adjourns at the end of the year.
I hope this information is helpful. Please continue to keep in touch.
Member of Congress
PS: Please sign up for periodic updates on issues, events, and town
hall meetings at http://price.house.gov/Forms/EmailSignup.
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Cristobal M. Palmer
UNC-CH SILS Student
TriLUG Vice Chair
cristobalpalmer at gmail.com
cmpalmer at ils.unc.edu
"Television-free since 2003"
<tarheelcoxn> iank has trouble with English. his native language is Python
<iank> I'm forced
<iank> To indent
<iank> My sentences
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