Congress Vote Loses On Net Neutrality

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The U.S. House of Representatives Energy and Commerce Committee voted 34-22 against a bill that was supposed to aid in the fight for net neutrality.

(a refresher: telcos want to charge extra to companies like Google for higher speed data pipes, in order to give their own super-high-speed services, like TV over IP, an unfair advantage) The battle is far, far from over, but a good opportunity to get the politicians on our side (us being content providers and net surfers) has passed by.

Blame Joe Barton, Texas Republican congressman who decided this was a really big deal. Which would have been fine, except he wanted it to lose.

Rep. Joe Barton, a Texas Republican and committee chairman, pressured his fellow GOP members to vote against Markey’s amendment-even going so far as to remind them that he opposed it and to call in wayward colleagues who had strayed out into the hallway.

Barton argued that Net neutrality proponents were overstating their case and exaggerating the dangers of a more laissez-faire approach. “I don’t think all the Draconian things they (predict) will happen if we don’t adopt their amendment,” he said.

While I, and most of the technology industry, would agree more with the Republican position on a laissez-faire approach to business, in this case, monopolistic businesses are trying to hurt both consumers and hundreds of businesses.

In many areas, your particular broadband provider is your only option, and you won’t get the same access to a public utility (the internet) as you would in a free market. The government will step in to prevent these guys abusing their positions, or at least they should. Forget free markets, the government still does and always has had a responsibility to protect consumers and businesses from monopolies.

Just so you know, the “honorable” Congressman Barton’s top 3 contributors include SBC and Comcast. Boy, that sure does buy a lot of passion on the issues, doesn’t it?

Barton is the 13th highest earner of money from the telecom industry. That’s on a list of all politicians, including the President. I don’t like this guy already.

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Nathan Weinberg writes the popular InsideGoogle blog, offering the latest news and insights about Google and search engines.

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Congress Vote Loses On Net Neutrality
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