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House GOP Leaders Complain to Obama About Net Neutrality

House Republican leaders complained Friday to President Obama that net neutrality rules proposed by the Federal Communications Commission could deter investment in broadband networks and hurt the economy.

House Minority Leader John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) and Eric Cantor (R-Va.), the House Republican whip, wrote in a letter to the president that the FCC, led by chairman Julius Genachowski, should focus on its congressional mandate to come up with a plan to bring high-speed Internet access to all U.S. homes instead of net neutrality rules. The net neutrality rules would be a separate proceeding from the national broadband plan that is due to Congress in Feb. 2010.

In their letter, Boehner and Cantor asked Obama to "encourage the FCC to refocus its priorities on properly examining the broadband market and completing its broadband plan."

"If the FCC micromanages broadband network management, broadband investment will be in jeopardy," the lawmakers wrote.

Though the letter was sent to the president, the FCC is an independent federal agency.
A spokeswoman at the FCC, declined to comment when asked about the letter.

Last week, Genachowski announced a proposal to codify and expand rules that would give consumers access to any legal applications and services of their choice on the Web. The rules would prevent carriers from blocking content and technologies on their networks. Known as net neutrality guidelines, the proposal is a cornerstone of Obama's technology agenda and one that the president has supported since the campaign. The administration's other chief technology objective is universal broadband, which the president has argued should be part of the nation's future infrastructure in the same way that roads and railways have been.

The letter follows a move -- later retracted -- by House Republicans last week that would have blocked some funding to the FCC in an attempt to keep the net neutrality rules from being advanced. The lawmakers later scrapped their plan, after Genachowski reached out to the Hill leader to discuss the proposed rules

By Cecilia Kang  |  October 2, 2009; 4:52 PM ET  | Category:  Cecilia Kang
Previous: Silicon Valley Venture Capitalists, Entrepreneurs Give a Video Thumbs-Up to Net Neutrality | Next: What FCC Chair Is Reading: Gives Glimpse of Thinking on Broadband, Net Neutrality


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This article presents a one-sided description of the content and effects of "network neutrality" regulations. It's biased reporting, and violates the basic tenets of professional journalism.

Posted by: squirma | October 3, 2009 12:20 AM

Oh yes, because Comcast and Verizon and all the other carriers really have the best interests of the businesses their customers want to use, much less the needs of their customers themselves. Of course we should let them decide who gets the best access via legalized extortion.

Posted by: EricS2 | October 3, 2009 1:27 AM

Dems have failed to take advantage of this Neutrality fight. It has to be the clearest example of the GOP working for industry rather than the public out side of health care.

Posted by: case3 | October 3, 2009 1:43 AM

standard republican false choice. Investment in infrastructure instead of net neutrality, like we can't do both at the same time.

In fact we are doing neither.

Posted by: katavo | October 3, 2009 2:02 AM

It seems that some businesses are upset that they won't be able to squeeze customers for a few more $$. They know darned well that most customers essentially have no choice as to who their providers are, so if customers were upset at having something blocked just because the carrier had some competing service, that the customers wouldn't have any effective recourse..

Posted by: jackrussell252521 | October 3, 2009 10:06 AM

Watch Obama cave on this like he does with everything else.

Posted by: solsticebelle | October 3, 2009 10:41 AM

I didn't think anyone was that dumb, but apparently Cantor and Boehner are still looking for the tubing and pipes. I suspect they have their email printed out for them to read as well...

It's clear they're too dumb and self important to interact with the mere plebeians over this issue.

Posted by: timscanlon | October 3, 2009 11:19 AM

"Net Neutrality means no discrimination. Net Neutrality prevents Internet providers from blocking, speeding up or slowing down Web content based on its source, ownership or destination.
—SaveTheInternet.com FAQ"

it also means child porn...
depravity of all kinds...
it means no oversight whatsoever...
not even to protect us from terrorism...
is it worth it?...

Posted by: DwightCollins | October 3, 2009 12:27 PM

Is there ANY issue that's good for the American people that the repukes are for.

What are they afraid of, that net neutrality will lead to every American having health care.

They truly are a despicable bunch of scumbags.

Posted by: rcubedkc | October 3, 2009 12:29 PM

"it also means child porn...
depravity of all kinds...
it means no oversight whatsoever...
not even to protect us from terrorism...
is it worth it?..."

Well, that will keep you busy in the bathroom for a couple of hours a day won't it dwight?

Posted by: rcubedkc | October 3, 2009 12:31 PM

let's answer Dwight's question, starting with a question - who's going to be the judge of what is and is not depravity, you? Other christian overlord wannabes?

Are you going to decide that liberals who promote abortion rights and sex education are terrorists, damaging the christian way of life your kind demand we all live?

We the people have to ask ourselves: is a cleaner internet worth the price of censorship we'll have to pay if the Dwights in our country are choosing content for us?

And guess what Dwight - if the terrorists are using the internet, then we know where the fck they are! Even these murderous freaks aren't that stupid anymore, but apparently this escaped you.

Posted by: katavo | October 3, 2009 3:00 PM

it also means child porn...
depravity of all kinds...
it means no oversight whatsoever...
not even to protect us from terrorism...
is it worth it?...

Posted by: DwightCollins | October 3, 2009 12:27 PM

________________

Dwight, you must have missed the part about neutrality opening the doors for folks to have access to LEGAL applications and services. Don't think terrorism or child porn fall under legal services.Repubs are in bed with big business.

Posted by: TheNuttyProfessor | October 3, 2009 3:13 PM

Does this mean the GOP supports censorship on the part of corporations?

Posted by: JPHT | October 3, 2009 3:20 PM

The key to all of this is cable companies who also own telephone networks trying to prevent the internet from being used for telephone. Look at the big names who are all oppposed to the idea of net neutrality - Verizon, Comcast, etc. They're trying to protect their telephone industry investment - all the rest is smokescreen.

Posted by: hohandy1 | October 3, 2009 4:11 PM

America's fistula full of bought Congressmen and Senators on the lobbyist feedbag continues to ooze its rancid puss through these two.

American telecom companies spent over $30 million last year lobbying the Hill for their selfish interest. Consumers can't compete with this ugly system of bribes and payoffs.

Posted by: coloradodog | October 3, 2009 4:55 PM

I'm a conservative Republican and I support net neutrality. Every one of my friends that Ive talked to about net neutrality supports it, anyone my age and who is informed about it supports it. I think John Boehner and Eric Cantor have unwittingly caught that Washington D.C disease, you know the one where they become disconnected from their base and push an agenda that is not supported by the voters.


The GOP best stay connected with their base, lest we get the sense they are arrogant and dont really care how the voters feel.

Posted by: Homunculus | October 3, 2009 5:33 PM

net neutrality means if you watch a youtube video Comcast
can't slow it down in favor of a Video Download you bought from them.

the problem is the Large Carriers, Comcast, Verizon, TW want
to block IP Telephony, External video, and try and leverage their networks. That friends and family plan on your cell phone?
it's leveraging your cell phone to force your friends to switch.

net neutrality is critical for growth of new internet services

Posted by: patb | October 3, 2009 5:42 PM

Once again the GOP is trying to mug the consumer so they can pay back their corporate supporters. Once a Republican, always a garden slug. With apologies to the garden slugs.

Posted by: Bushwhacked1 | October 3, 2009 7:31 PM

I think we can agree that bringing broadband access to every American should be a priority. That's why Broadband for America (BFA) was recently formed. Broadband technology is always changing, and the members of BFA are dedicated to making sure the technology is used in a way that best benefits the consumer. I'm working on behalf of Broadband for America, and I encourage you to visit www.broadbandforamerica.com to learn about broadband policy and the numerous benefits of broadband.

Posted by: cprachar | October 3, 2009 10:03 PM

Another example of the Appalachian Party trying to screw us all a little harder.

Let Net Neutrality Stand !

Posted by: PulSamsara | October 3, 2009 10:36 PM

cprachar, I understand that you are doing your job (assuming your in media control), but it does benefit the good folks here to know that Broadband for America is lobbying firm funded by the very companies which oppose net neutrality legislation. Here's some information about what Broadband for America is REALLY about: http://www.dslreports.com/shownews/104658

Posted by: chimera1 | October 3, 2009 10:43 PM

Republicans never quit. They're despicable. They afraid of a neutral net, a major factor in getting Obama elected.

Now if we could separate the SCOTUS from their corporate masters, America might have a chance.

Posted by: thebobbob | October 3, 2009 10:43 PM

"it also means child porn...
depravity of all kinds...
it means no oversight whatsoever...
not even to protect us from terrorism...
is it worth it?..."

Normally I wouldn't respond to such an ignorannce but this statement just erks me...

For one, don't use the word terrorism, you don't even know what it means.

"Depravity"?? I suppose you could say the same thing about talking to strangers. It's a big world out there and if you can't handle interacting without someone standing there to ensure your interactions are pleasant and perfectly to your liking you shouldn't be interacting. The rest of us don't need to suffer because of your lack of ability to cope.

"no oversight", that sounds like a good thing to me. Republicans are always preaching the free market until it comes to letting the consumers be free as well then it's a different story. I think we're doing just find with the oversight we have. After all that lack of oversight has not only built a wonderful system it's actually brought us into something so big it's been coined as the Information Age. I think things are just fine without your oversight.

And well the best for last... "child porn". All I can say is your absolutely, out of the park, WRONG. The Net Neutrality rules proposed by the FCC actually state that only lawful content be allowed. It specifically states that unlawful transactions are not covered under the Net Neutrality principles.

So lets review... Dawn of a new age? Unprecedented information systems capable of bringing people (those with brains) more information on the world around them then has ever been possible before. The ability to connect families in real time across oceans. The ability for me to rebuke an absurd opinion like yours. Yeah I think it's all well worth it thanks.

Posted by: purfus | October 4, 2009 1:24 AM

And a little more on topic to the article... The major providers have already stated that when it comes to wired networks they already practice all of the net neutrality principles. Comcast is the only large company I've heard of that veered away from that and it didn't take long for them to go back to a more neutral framework. The problem the providers have with the principles is the FCC's decision to include wireless networks. The broadband initiative has nothing to do with their issues, it's just an excuse. And a lame one at that considering it was just a couple weeks ago they were attempting to change the definition of broadband to a low standard of service so they could reap the benefits of the initiative without having to actually do anything to improve the infrastructure. Seems like lately the republicans can't seem to pick a good battle. Haven't they ever heard the term, if you can't beat em join em...

Posted by: purfus | October 4, 2009 1:33 AM

The lobbyists for "network neutrality" regulation make it out to be a matter of freedom, motherhood, and apple pie. But the truth of the matter is that there is no problem to solve; in the US (where these regulations would have effect) the Internet is not being censored or blocked. And if an ISP did so, its customers would switch in a New York minute.

So, why all the lobbying for regulation to "solve" a nonexistent "problem?" Because -- along with assurances that we will get what we already have and are in no danger of losing -- the regulations contain provisions that would favor certain large corporations with big lobbying money. (First and foremost of these is Google, which is funding the majority of the "network neutrality" lobbying in DC.) These provisions would actually hinder the rollout of broadband in our country (which IS an important goal). They'd also increase the cost of broadband service, limit consumer choice, and even make certain services that businesses -- especially startups -- might want or need unavailable. (The motive behind this seems to be to prevent another company from arising to compete with Google.) In short, the predictions of gloom and doom if regulation is not passed are a smokescreen. "Network neutrality" regulation is a corporate agenda that simply isn't in consumers' interest.

--Brett Glass

Posted by: squirma | October 4, 2009 1:00 PM

Of course Boner and his Party of No are against Net Neutrality! Just look at The Party of No contributors. Big business and big religion are the finance of these knuckle-draggers. Net Neutrality would be good for the people but cost the Party of No supporters money.

Just say NO to the party of No...Just say NO to John Boner.

Posted by: rrowleyarizona | October 4, 2009 9:18 PM

...the Internet is not being censored or blocked. And if an ISP did so, its customers would switch in a New York minute.
..."Network neutrality" regulation...simply isn't in consumers' interest.
--Brett Glass

Brett, not everyone lives in an area with even one, let alone multiple, broadband suppliers. That's what the broadband initiative is about. The less populated areas are the ones that are likely to have at most one supplier. If that supplier attempts to control traffic based on its origin, as more than one have already attempted (and backed off due to popular hue and cry), the consumers in less populated areas are the ones who will be harmed.

Broadband access is more critical in rural areas because we have so few communications choices. Broadcast radio and TV receptions is abysmal or nonexistent. Telephone service, both landline and wireless, is unreliable and of poor quality. Broadband would be our only practical high-quality means of information, remote purchasing, and communication - if we had it. To allow a supplier to decide what we could access, or what access would get bandwidth and response priority, would massively degrade this resource.

Posted by: dome-onion | October 5, 2009 9:23 PM

The thing that would solve all net neutrality and national broadband coverage problems is to break up the ISP into two services. One would provide the physical wiring to the home and inside the city, the other would provide the content , like bandwidth and voip services.

The way it works now you have one company in many areas controlling both the content and the means of getting it to the home. That does not promote competition.

If you have one company that provides local infrastructure only and is not allowed to provide services, but instead leases those local lines to anyone who wants to use them, then any ISP or provider can sell to those homes and you have competition like other countries where homes have 10-20 ISP to pick from for service. The local lines are price regulated just like power lines and gas lines to the home.

Rural areas are more likely to get coverage when 10+ ISP can offer services there and with this system you only install the fiber to the home one time and anyone can use it.

Someone has already written a proposal here:
http://www.ionary.com/separationbillproposal.htm

Posted by: mark89 | October 5, 2009 11:37 PM

Hey, "dome-onion," we are in a rural town of only 28,000 people -- about half of whom are college students and so are not part of the market for Internet service (they get all they can eat on campus). And -- guess what? -- we have at least 9 facilities-based ISPs to choose from, including the telephone company, the cable company, four WISPs, and three high speed cellular providers. This is not to mention the competitors which ride on various telephone company facilities. Altogether, there are a couple of dozen to choose from.

One of the real issues in broadband competition is not that there's a lack of competition but that consumers simply don't know it exists. (They seem to think that high speed Internet only comes from the telephone company or the cable company.) We competitive providers are working to change that, but we need the FCC's help. Right now, even as it claims that a key goal is to facilitate broadband deployment and competition, it is working on competition-destroying "network neutrality" regulation, and failing to act on predatory "special access" pricing, which hobbles competition.

Were the FCC to gather actual data on broadband competition (Remember the promise, by the new Chairman, to make the FCC more "data-driven?"), it would discover that there's substantial competition, and there could be plenty more if the agency facilitated it. But note that it has announced that it wants to issue a "Notice of Proposed Rulemaking" -- a notice of an impending decision -- instead of a "Notice of Inquiry" -- indicating that it wants to gather some data before making rules.

"Ready, fire, aim," as the saying goes.

Brett Glass
Owner and Founder, LARIAT
The world's first Wireless ISP (WISP)

To contact me about this or other issues, see http://www.brettglass.com/mailbrett.html

Posted by: squirma | October 6, 2009 7:40 AM

Perhaps it is just from my personal experience, but 28,000 people seems to be fairly large for a rural community and thus not very indicative of most of them. I live in a rural town of maybe 2,000 permanent residents, plus about an additional 7,000 students provided by a state college and a private university during the school year. While yes, the students have an "all they can eat" Internet service on campus, those of us living in town are forced to choose between Time Warner Cable or nothing for our internet. Verizon, the only traditional landline telephone carrier in the area, does not (yet) provide Internet. We don't have options - No one is around. The nearest alternate provider was a dial-up service from a large town about 30 minutes away, but they did not provide service outside of their community.

I agree that expanding the availability of broadband is a high priority. However, in addition to their mandate to provide this, the FCC also is in a position to take steps to ensure that the internet remains “a forum for a true diversity of
political discourse, unique opportunities for cultural development, and myriad avenues for intellectual
activity” (47 U.S.C. § 230(a)(3)). That is where the net neutrality policies come in.

Given the size of the FCC, I am pretty sure they can afford the man-hours to work on both items at the same time

Posted by: jbw7 | October 9, 2009 11:52 PM

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