Senate to Consider Bill on the Future of the Internet

Senate to Consider Bill on the Future of the Internet

Online Innovation, Consumer Choice at Risk
June 21, 2006

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Richard Morrison, 202.331.2273


Washington, D.C., June 21, 2006—Proponents of putting the federal government in charge of regulating Internet traffic are expected make their move tomorrow when a key Senate committee considers a major new telecommunications reform bill. Advocates of so-called “net neutrality” regulations will likely attempt to amend the Consumer's Choice and Broadband Deployment Act to include provisions that will slow broadband deployment and limit consumer choice.


Implementing net neutrality would prohibit Internet service providers—the owners and developers of the Net’s infrastructure—from charging different prices for different levels of service. The plan could also end up preventing individuals and organizations from setting up private networks and screening out content they deem objectionable.


“The government should not be allowed to force network owners into adopting static pricing schemes or mandated access rules,” said Peter Suderman, a Technology Analyst with the Competitive Enterprise Institute.  “Keeping network owners from realizing the profit potential of their long-term investments will only result in fewer products and choices for everyone in the marketplace.”


Content providers such as Google, eBay and Amazon have supported the adoption of federal regulations which would allow them to avoid paying increased rates for more demanding services, like high definition video.


Internet service providers, however, are preparing plans to cater to the needs of an array of different users. Content providers with minimal network demands will, as now, be able to get their access at a reasonable price while those offering content requiring priority delivery will pay accordingly for their enhanced access. “Opposing net neutrality doesn’t limit opportunities online,” said Suderman. “In fact, it's essential for expanding those opportunities.”