House rejects H.R. 5252 Net neutrality amendment

“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

75 Comments

  1. People are going to think it’s censorship, but it’s not. Nothing is being eliminated by the government, nor is the government saying anything should be blocked. This bill will allow the market to dictate the types of ISPs that exist– that is, people will sign up for the ISP that gives them what they want. Some will certainly want 100% open, some heavily restricted, if they have children, for instance.

    Interesting to see how this plays out with time.

  2. The notion that Comcast et. al. could start charging large internet sites (google, yahoo, msn, iTunes, etc) just seems outlandish, and can only end up hurting consumers, in my opinion. If they start charging Google, then Google passes those charges along to us.

    If Comcast et. al. is worried about supporting the desire for increased bandwidth while still turning a profit, it seems far simpler and easier to just charge the end user a little more each month for the increased bandwidth. or they could offer a tiered solution to end-users depending on how much bandwidth users intend to use.

    If somebody wants to stream movies, then perhaps they need a 6Mbps connection, which would be one rate. You could have rates at 3Mbps, 1.5Mbps, and so forth. This just seems a lot more rational to me than charging content providers. That’s like taxing companies for being successful.

  3. This is a tough issue. I want to have access to everything with out restrictions. But it s the right of the company to provide the product that they can sell the best. What we need is a consumer movement that says give me net neutrality or I will find an ISP that will!

    It is almost universally bad when the government gets involved.

  4. Net Neutrality just SUCKS MDN, wake up.. You would be allowing some Govt Entity to decide what amount of bandwidth is fair. Nothing is ever fair. If I pay for a certain amount of bandwidth from company xyz, thats what I should get. It SHOULD NOT be based on whether some Govt bureaucrat thinks my amount of bandwidth is fair..

    The Govt is already doing to much to interfere in daily lives, determining whether xyz company should get this amount of bandwidth is just dumb, because they rarely get anything else right, how would this help other than to limit growth..

    If I run company JOE. Why should I invest in broadband upgrades or infrastructure improvements if some bureaucrat is going to decide how I can implement it or dole it out and not get fair market value for what I provide.

  5. nuflux,

    MDN never endorsed a specific bill – Google did. I think MDN is being realistic, prudent, and honest about their position. Clearly, the Laissez-faire approach is preferred by many people – even some Dems.

    Regulations often sound good until you see their consequences.

    MDN supports Net Neutrality. I do, too. The question remains, what’s really the best way to keep the ‘Net neutral?

    Drop your party affiliation, pretend to be Independent, and tell us all what you think should be done since you seem to think that you know what to do.

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