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Posted at 5:15 PM ET, 12/16/2010

Lawmakers take up debate on net neutrality rules

By Cecilia Kang

With the Federal Communications Commission in private deliberations over net neutrality rules, the debate over the proposal has moved to Capitol Hill.

Lawmakers from both parties are sending letters this week to FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski and the other four FCC commissioners. Senate Republicans are calling the proposal an attempt to take over the Internet and to hurt companies, while Democratic House members are asking the agency to strengthen and clarify portions of the proposal.

Reps. Ed Markey (D-Mass), Anna Eshoo (D-Calif.), and Mike Doyle (D-Pa.) urged Genachowski on Thursday to apply equal rules for wireless networks and to explain his view of discriminatory network management, saying the agency should not allow for paid prioritization, or fast lanes, for some content. They asked for specific definitions on "managed services" -- or channels in a provider's pipes that could be carved out for priority content delivery. They also said the FCC should clearly define broadband services so that loopholes aren't created that exempt some from oversight.

"Regulatory certainty on this issue is essential to growth for both broadband providers and application developers -- effective rules will deliver that certainty for both important parts of the market," the House Democrats said.

Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) recently wrote to Democratic FCC commissioners Michael Copps and Mignon Clyburn, asking them to approve Genachowski's proposal.

Sen. John Ensign (R-Nev.), the ranking Commerce Committee member, and 28 other Republicans asked the FCC chief to drop his proposal, which is up for vote Dec. 21. House Republicans have also criticized Genachowski's plan, and new Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-Mich.) promised to bring Genachowski to hearings on the Hill to justify his regulatory proposal.

"Last year when you began the Open Internet rule-making you promised that the process would be 'transparent, fact-based, and data-driven,' yet the Commission to date has provided scant evidence to justify the need for your proposed intrusion into the broadband marketplace," the GOP Senate lawmakers wrote. "Consumers today use and have access to more Internet services than ever before."

By Cecilia Kang  | December 16, 2010; 5:15 PM ET
Categories:  FCC, Net Neutrality  
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Comments

This is not a "proposed intrusion into the marketplace," this is a long-delayed regulatory enforcement that's been unethically withheld by Repub Commissioners in FCC. They have idiotically refused to classify broadband landline internet as a telecommunication service, which it clearly is. Telephone companies can't discriminate against content providers just because they own the physical landline like Comcast does. Verizon delivers internet service over landlines which it might own or might not, but FCC regulations prohibit discrimination against other telephone companies wanting to use that same landline. The cable TV landlines are the same setup: a telecommunications pipeline that falls under FCC regulatory authority. All that's needed is for the FCC to classify landline wire connections as a telecommunications service. Yet the FCC refuses to do this. It's outrageous. Throw the bums out.

Posted by: Religulosity | December 17, 2010 8:57 AM | Report abuse

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