Monday, January 15, 2007

[Network Neutrality] Temporary Victory for Network Neutrality

Last summer there was a bit of excitement about possible Congressional action to change the rules of the internet, including a day of blog action. But in the end, Congress could not pass a bill. The debate, however, led to some great entertainment in the form of a techno remix of a speech by Sen. Stevens (R-AK) and a great Daily Show segment about Stevens' speech.

At the end of 2006, net neutrality advocates got a temporary victory in an agreement by AT&T to maintain network neutrality for the next two years. Tom Abate covered the story for the SF Chronicle in Net neutrality advocates hail AT&T's concessions:


On Dec. 29, it [AT&T] agreed for roughly two years to abide by much the same "network neutrality" rules that it had spent 2006 strenuously opposing in Congress.


When asked by The Chronicle, Verizon, Comcast and Time Warner declined to say whether they will continue to honor this unofficial moratorium while AT&T's hands remain tied.

But the prevailing wisdom on Capitol Hill is that the big four won't rock the boat while Congress is considering whether to make AT&T's temporary agreement the basis for a net neutrality law that would bind them all.

AT&T chief lobbyist Jim Cicconi said, "We continue to believe that net neutrality regulations are unwarranted and unwise."

As for what comes next, a House staffer said Rep. Ed Markey, D-Mass., who championed net neutrality last year, will introduce a bill soon to make something similar to the AT&T concessions binding on the entire industry -- and this time he will do so as chairman of a key subcommittee.

But Jessica Zufolo, a telecommunications expert with the Medley Global Advisors policy research firm, said that although momentum has shifted to a coalition that seeks to preserve neutrality on the Internet, it is too early to tell whether proponents will be able to convert a majority of the House and Senate, and ultimately the president.

Meanwhile, the merger concessions create a deadline for Congress to either act or not.


Read the whole thing here. More commentary at Save the Internet.

This post was written by Marc of Mental Masala.

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