|FROM ||Ruben Safir
|SUBJECT ||Subject: [NYLXS - HANGOUT] Network Nuetral
By Anne Broache Staff Writer, CNET News.com Published: June 22, 2006,
2:37 PM PDT Tell us what you think about this storyTalkBack E-mail this
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WASHINGTON--The first day of the Senate Commerce Committee's debate on
a massive communications bill ended without any votes related to the
divisive concept of Net neutrality.
But Senate Democrats and a lone Republican on Thursday pledged again to
codify the antidiscrimination mandates sought by Internet companies and
consumer groups, while Republicans cautioned that tinkering with the
existing language could cause the entire 159-page proposal to collapse.
The committee, which adjourned because of floor votes after only
two hours of debate, plans to resume debate on the Communications,
Consumers' Choice and Broadband Deployment Act of 2006 (click here for
PDF) on Tuesday morning, said Committee Chairman Ted Stevens, an Alaska
Republican. If approved by the committee, the measure would still need
to go to the full Senate for additional debate and final votes.
"It is my hope we will continue to seek compromise on this issue before
us," Stevens said. More than 200 amendments on the numerous topics
covered by the bill have been filed for consideration.
But when it comes to Net neutrality, Stevens said he intended to hold firm
on the existing language. It would establish an "Internet consumer bill of
rights" and give the Federal Communications Commission authority to fine
violators--but not make new rules in the area. The nine principles subject
to enforcement would include: allowing consumers to access and post any
lawful content they please; to access and run any Web page, search engine
or application that they choose (including voice and video programs);
and to connect any legal devices to the network that they please.
"Until someone really defines (Net neutrality), why should we destroy
a bill? And we will" by changing the provisions, Stevens told reporters
after the meeting. In other news:
* Microsoft swims upstream on security * Cisco's prime position in
IP networking * Open-and-shut cases for Office * News.com Extra:
VoIP users hit snags * Video: Reporter or rodent?
Net neutrality, according to its proponents, centers on the idea that
network operators must give equal treatment to all content that rides
over their pipes. The Stevens bill has drawn attack from advocates of
the concept because it wouldn't prohibit network operators from making
deals with content providers for the privilege of, say, faster delivery
or more prominent placement.
As expected, North Dakota Democrat Byron Dorgan and Maine Republican
Olympia Snowe both indicated they would offer principles from their
"Internet Freedom Preservation Act," which meets the Net neutrality
advocates' demands, as amendments to the bill. A number of other Democrats
on the committee backed those plans.
Republicans largely remained silent on their own plans for
amendments. Several who subscribe to free-market beliefs had already
voiced strong reservations about the idea of a Net neutrality mandate
at last week's final hearing on the bill.
Nevada Republican John Ensign sounded the loudest alarms against further
regulations on Thursday. He flatly rejected the pro-Net neutrality camp's
criticism of the bill, saying the proposal is a "good compromise" that
fully protects their interests. :
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