“The U.S. House of Representatives definitively rejected the concept of Net neutrality on Thursday, dealing a bitter blow to Internet companies like Amazon.com, eBay and Google that had engaged in a last-minute lobbying campaign to support it. By a 269-152 vote that fell largely along party lines, the House Republican leadership mustered enough votes to reject a Democrat-backed amendment that would have enshrined stiff Net neutrality regulations into federal law and prevented broadband providers from treating some Internet sites differently from others,” Declan McCullagh reports for CNET News. “Of the 421 House members who participated in the vote that took place around 6:30 p.m. PT, the vast majority of Net neutrality supporters were Democrats. Republicans represented most of the opposition.”

“At issue is a lengthy measure called the Communications Opportunity, Promotion, and Enhancement (COPE) Act, which a House committee approved in April. Its Republican backers, along with broadband providers such as Verizon and AT&T, say it has sufficient Net neutrality protections for consumers, and more extensive rules would discourage investment in wiring American homes with higher-speed connections,” McCullagh reports. “Defenders of the COPE Act, largely Republicans, dismissed worries about Net neutrality as fear mongering. ‘I want a vibrant Internet just like they do,’ said Rep. Lamar Smith, a Texas Republican. ‘Our disagreement is about how to achieve that. They say let the government dictate it…I urge my colleagues to reject government regulation of the Internet.'”

“While the debate over Net neutrality started over whether broadband providers could block certain Web sites, it has moved on to whether they should be permitted to create a ‘fast lane’ that could be reserved for video or other specialized content,” McCullagh reports.

Full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: We don’t presume to know the best way to get there, but we support the concept of “Net Neutrality” especially as it pertains to preventing the idea of ISP’s blocking or otherwise impeding sites that don’t pay the ISP to ensure equal access. That said, we usually prefer the government to be hands-off wherever possible, Laissez-faire, except in cases where the free market obviously cannot adequately self-regulate (antitrust, for just one example). Regulations are static and the marketplace is fluid, so extensive regulations can have unintended, unforeseen results down the road. We sincerely hope that there are enough forces in place and/or that the balances adjust in such a manner as to keep the ‘Net neutral. What do you think?

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Related articles:
Google posts call to action on ‘net neutrality’ – June 09, 2006