GOP Moves to Block Net Neutrality

By  |  Monday, September 21, 2009 at 5:00 pm

Julius GenachowskiA Federal Communications Commission (FCC) proposal that would require Internet service providers to treat all network traffic equally was met with resistance by Republicans on Capitol Hill today.

FCC chairman, Julius Genachowski is expected to unveil a policy that advocates network neutrality this week. If the policy is implemented, providers would no longer be able to interfere with information that flows through their networks. ISPs, including Comcast, have managed peer-to-peer network traffic to alleviate network congestion, and oppose the concept.

Senate Republicans also stand in opposition to net neutrality, and moved to deny the FCC funding for developing or implementing new Internet regulations. Genachowski was appointed to the FCC by President Obama.

“I am deeply concerned by the direction the FCC appears to be heading. Even during a severe downturn, America has experienced robust investment and innovation in network performance and online content and applications,” Texas Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison said in a statement. ” She said that regulations could stifle innovation, and that the marketplace would respond to companies that exhibit questionable behavior.

Vinton Cerf, co-inventor of the Internet Protocol and Google evangalist, and Tim Berners-Lee, creator of the World Wide Web, favor network neutrality. Berners-Lee believes that ISPs seek to shift customers to a tiered pricing model, where access to information pipelines will be tightly controlled.

I agree with Berners-Lee, and would rather see preemptive regulation than for Internet users to lose the benefits of the Internet. Toll booths would impede–not encourage–innovation. What do you think?


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8 Comments For This Post

  1. Daniel Says:

    I’m sorry but again this party of the people does not speak for us, dam those Republicans. The Internet and what has evolved, was because of the openess the Internet provided. If not for this,
    we would still be stuck with AOL and all it’s glory (gory). Comcast is just the latest in wanting to control and charge more for less.

    We should all call our Republican senators/representative and yell at them to push this through. Or at the very least have an oversight committee to go after groups like Comcast to prevent them from throttleing down what we want, how much we want and what we want to give.

  2. AJ Says:


    Politicians never speak for us, only their campaign contributors.

  3. John Baxter Says:

    I fear this about “Net Neutrality”: the same direct marketing lobby that caused the CAN-SPAM act to essentially allow all spam from their members will insist that their spam not be blocked by ISPs.

    And then other lobbies’ members will try to sell you even more spam filtering for your machine. The d..n stuff should be stopped before it ever gets into your ISP’s network.

  4. Kevin L Says:

    Here’s my question: what about cell phone companies that offer free in-network calling and/or texting? Is that unfair to their users? Believe me, I’m all for net neutrality and don’t think ISP’s should change your bandwidth based on the source of traffic any more than phone companies should degrade calls from competing long distance carriers. Like I’ve said before, if it was truly a bandwidth issue, then reduce users’ bandwidth across the board. But of course ISP’s can’t do that because then their customers would be unhappy. If they’re going to advertise the speeds they do, they had better provide.

    And as for my cell phone analogy, I just remembered that the FCC policy includes mobile web, so eventually everything will be over IP – including voice – so it won’t matter.

  5. Kevin L Says:

    Oh yeah, I was going to comment on the partisan politics issue too. As I said, I’m for neutrality, but I think (or hope) that the Republicans are approaching this from the point of being cautious about allowing the FCC to set precedents. The commission already has a lot of power over industries like phone service and broadcasters. Is taking their authority from just the physical layer to the actual data layer necessary? I hope they consider that by enforcing net neutrality, though, the FCC would be encouraging free market competition – something conservatives like myself are always for. Fiscal conservatism should be about preventing “unnatural” monopolies, reining in natural monopolies, and freeing competitive markets, and net neutrality is all of those.

  6. Anonymous Says:

    If government (usually State and local, actually) regulation were reduced, instead of increased, more companies would create a more competitive ISP market.

    Instead, people complain about current conditions and try to codify into law the conditions of the 1990s, which do not apply, in addition to increasing the regulatory burden by raising barriers to entry, ensuring that current service providers do not have to compete to stay afloat.

  7. tom b Says:

    Those GOP swine are always willing to sell anybody down the river to line their own pockets. I don’t want ComCast or Time Warner throttling back on my Vimeo videos for the benefit of Hulu or some other big media service. It the “series of pipes” is too narrow, the solution is bigger pipes (particularly the “last mile”); not increased restrictions on consumers. It is great the FCC is looking at net neutrality. It is needed.

  8. Darkr0nin Says:

    It would come as no surprise to me if the GOP wanted to do this simply because Obama is trying to pass net neutrality.

    Being against something simply because someone you don’t like is for is ludicrous and stupid. It doesn’t matter what the political philosophy is, a politician is not capable of making responsible decisions if their opinions boil down to “anti-something”.

    Net neutrality is a very good idea. It keeps the internet a free source of information. If we don’t have net neutrality, corporations could charge a service to use particular sites in addition to paying for a connection. Furthermore, since conglomerates would have control over the information on the internet, they could adjust searches to fit their biases.

    Net neutrality is the only way the transfer of mass information can be free unbiased for everyone. It’s a tragedy how much of a joke the Republican party is now.

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