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FOLLOWING THE TELECOMMUNICATIONS INDUSTRY AND RELATED LEGAL TOPICS

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Interesting Twist in Net Neutrality Fight on the Hill

Maybe it was because it was the day after 6/6/06, or maybe some other supernatural phenomenon was occurring, but yesterday the Bells suffered a minor set-back when the House Rules Committee approved a rule allowing full House consideration of the net neutrality amendment sponsored by Ed Markey of Massachusetts, the ranking Democrat on the Energy and Commerce Telecommunications and the Internet Subcommittee.

The Markey amendment (supported by Microsoft Corp., Google Inc. and public interest groups who count Moby and Pat Robertson as members) would prevent broadband network providers from prioritizing traffic and essentially impose common carriage obligations on them. That is, under the Markey broadband network providers could not favor their own online traffic or make business deals with some Internet companies to guarantee faster access to consumers. The Barton bill, as written, would allow such deals.

The full House vote on the Barton bill is scheduled for tomorrow. Stay tuned to see if the Bells have a Freaky Friday or if things return to normal...

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