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Republicans Step Up Opposition to Net Neutrality; House GOP Ask FCC For Data

A group of House of Representatives Republicans on Monday called for the Federal Communications Commission to do a market analysis before proposing a new rule that would prevent Internet service providers from acting as gatekeepers of content and services on the Web.

In a letter to FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski, 20 Republicans asked the FCC if the agency will be examining networks, services, consumer electronics equipment, applications, as well as cable, wireline, wireless, satellite and broadband to determine if a rule to govern Net neutrality is necessary, according to a Reuters story.

A spokeswoman declined to comment on the letter.

The move follows a letter last Friday by House GOP leaders to President Obama, in which lawmakers complained about Genachowski's proposal.

Genachowski is likely to get his own earful when he attends a wireless trade show this week by CTIA-The Wireless Association. The FCC chairman will give a keynote speech on Oct. 7.

By Cecilia Kang  |  October 5, 2009; 4:00 PM ET
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Next: Google CEO To FCC Chair: Thanks for Net Neutrality, Need a Hand With Broadband?


It's ironic. FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski, at a Congressional oversight hearing held on September 17, 2009, said: "When the market works and there's sufficient competition, then the FCC has no need to act. When the market isn't working, and the consumers could benefit from policies to promote competition, then the Commission MUST act." Then, less than a month later, he called for drastic action -- overbearing regulation of the Internet -- without first gathering any data at all regarding Internet competition or proving that a problem existed that required regulation. Is this the new, "data-driven" FCC that the Chairman promised? Or is it merely acting on a campaign stance taken by President Barack Obama -- who, as a Senator, had been heavily lobbied on the issue and did not know the facts? The fact is that no problem exists that would be "solved" by regulation. However, the regulation would do much harm -- actually destroying access to the Internet by shutting down small and competitive ISPs like the one I operate in rural Wyoming. Brett Glass Owner and founder, LARIAT The world's first Wireless ISP (WISP) To contact me regarding these views, see

Posted by: squirma | October 5, 2009 4:26 PM | Report abuse

I think that the argument being presented is that if you don't see problems now you shouldn't regulate. We have seen problems already. Some see competition as eliminating any reason for NET neutrality rules. In many areas, what competition? There is absolutely no reason that regulation should close ISPs. ISPs certainly should not be prohibited from charging different rates for different levels of service. Sure some services would take so much bandwidth that performance would be killed. Real world limitations need to be part of any rules allowing ISPs that have limited capacity to limit the usage on their own ISP. The rumored take over of NBC by COMCAST is a great example of why NET neutrality rules are necessary. I am an conservative independent, otherwise my only connection to this issue is as an interested user.

Posted by: kdjkdj | October 6, 2009 9:03 AM | Report abuse

The only "problem" we've seen to date is that government could do more to foster competition among ISPs. But there will never be competition if the FCC regulates it out of existence. What I find especially ironic in the Reuters article is that Gigi Sohn, who is effectively a corporate lobbyist for Google (her lobbying group, Public Knowledge receives substantial support and free labor from Google) said in a public statement in January, 2009 (see that the FCC must "make policy decisions based on objective data and facts, not ideology and industry-purchased data." And yet, she lobbies in the article for the FCC to railroad through a set of sweeping, burdensome, highly destructive regulations that would favor Google. And she wants it to do so solely on the basis of the "purchased" claims of Google-funded lobbyists, without first gathering any objective data or facts. Alas, such doublespeak seems to be par for the course among DC lobbyists. Brett Glass Owner and Founder, LARIAT The world's first Wireless ISP (WISP) To contact me regarding this or other issues, see

Posted by: squirma | October 6, 2009 9:44 AM | Report abuse

I've had problems that I've reported to the FCC with blocked ports / access to services. I'm not going to name any names, to protect those who are not innocent. Basically, the carriers, access providers and integrators had a choice. Either stop blocking ports or net neutrality will have to be codified in formal legislation. What they should do before they adopt any additional regulation with respect to net neutrality is either repeal or throw out most of the current telecommunications act. That has put carriers at a disadvantage. Now the solution isn't for the carriers to charge more for data based on the type of traffic or the financial importance of the data in the guise of providing better service. People aren’t asking for this, people don’t need it and allowing this behavior in the marketplace will limit commerce, the limit exchange of ideas and limit competition. It’s very similar to the situation many decades ago where people could charge others a toll for right-of-way to their property. This practice was outlawed. Blocking Google traffic and preventing Google from being a viable company unless they and their customers paid the toll (almost like mob payments, if you think about it) should be outlawed as well. If you think about it, it's like paying more to get rid of the something that you were happy with. Now my understanding is that Net Neutrality does not prohibit WISP’s from punishing users for misusing wireless services. If you have someone hammering your wireless, you need to set usage limits. As long as you are not blocking specific traffic you shouldn’t have a problem. Just kick off the people that are causing the problem or develop an application for the user where they can manage their usage. Hughes throttles users of their satcom data service. If you go over 100 MB in a day, they throttle you back. You can also throttle back data usage for users that violate an agreed to usage when they sign up for the service. Because again, you would not be discriminating against any specific user or internet service, because all users would have to follow the same set of policies.

Posted by: scottburgan | October 6, 2009 11:42 PM | Report abuse

If you ever visit the FCC, try using the Wi-Fi in the building. You'll discover that -- yes -- many if not most TCP and UDP ports are blocked. Why? Because it's reasonable network management to do so. It's ironic that the FCC seems poised to adopt rules which would prevent ISPs from managing their networks as the FCC manages its own. --Brett Glass


Posted by: squirma | October 8, 2009 12:20 AM | Report abuse

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