Net Neutrality Bill Shot Down

by , 8:20 AM EDT, June 12th, 2006

Last week, the U.S. House of Representatives voted against a bill that would have imposed stringent "net neutrality" requirements on broadband Internet Service Providers (ISP). Companies like eBay and Google were in support of the measure, hoping it would protect them from paying premiums to ISPs in order to keep their sites from being significantly slowed down, or blocked from consumers.

According to CNET, the 269-152 vote fell mostly along party lines with Republicans voting against the bill, and Democrats voting for it.

Supporters of the bill were attempting to prevent a two-tier Internet where Web sites are treated differently depending on how much they pay to ISPs. Opponents say they were preventing unnecessary government regulations.

Representative Ed Markey, the Massachusetts Democrat behind the bill said that the vote will change "the Internet for the rest of eternity."

Opponents to the bill, however, disagree, claiming that concerns raised over Net neutrality amount to fear mongering. Broadband providers like AT&T and Verizon, along with Republican backers, say the Communications Opportunity, Promotion, and Enhancement (COPE) Act - which was approved in April - provides enough Net neutrality protection for consumers.

Many Democrats think that's not the case. Rep. Markey commented "[Companies like] Netscape and Google...are going to have to pay taxes" to broadband ISPs.

On the other side of the camp, Republicans think Democrats are going about ensuring Net neutrality in the wrong way. Texas Representative, Lamar Smith, stated "I want a vibrant Internet just like they do. They say let the government dictate it...I urge my colleagues to reject government regulation of the Internet."