Internet neutrality proponents believe that the recent change in Congress is likely to boost their efforts to push legislation that would prohibit tiered access to the Internet.
SaveTheInternet lobbied to stop telecommunications and cable companies from setting higher prices for improved speed and access to some customers. The group said election results have catapulted their efforts forward.
"The outlook for better, more public-spirited Internet legislation is now quite good," the group said through a prepared statement.
In fact, U.S. Rep. Ed Markey, a Massachusetts Democrat who proposed legislation supporting their cause, is set to lead telecommunications policy for the House majority in 2007. So is U.S. Rep. John Dingell, a Michigan Democrat, who said he would propose a telecommunications reform bill with public interest and net neutrality in mind.
The House Judiciary Committee's Task Force on Telecommunications and Antitrust is holding a hearing Tuesday on whether the Internet should operate like a utility, with equal service, or whether providers should be able to provided tiered access and pricing.
Over in the Senate:
Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., on Thursday unveiled a bill that would prohibit telephone and cable companies from charging others businesses for faster delivery of content to consumers over the Internet.
The bill to ensure so-called 'Net neutrality' would also prohibit network operators from favoring content over others, such as their own video services over those of Internet companies.
In unveiling the Internet Nondiscrimination Act of 2006, Wyden said in a statement that allowing cable and telephone companies to create a two-tiered system for distributing content over their networks would "have a chilling effect on small mom and pop businesses that can't afford the priority lane, leaving these smaller businesses no hope of competing against the Wal-Marts of the world."
To read some of the comments, you would think the Democrats are striking a blow to protect truth, justice and the American way:
The Tubes are safe!
YES ... we get to keep the Internets!!!
They should make it an Amendment to the Constitution that no one can ever take our tubes away from us. The Intenets are the only true democracy!
Kerry's heading the Senate Committee and he's a firm believer in MORE ACCESS to citizens not less, with restrictions only for serious matters like child porn.
Just reading the legislative initiatives that our Dem representatives have put out in the past week makes me want to sob in relief. And I have a feeling they're just getting started--they aren't even in power yet!
Speaking only as an individual, I am telling you that if I hadn't had the net these past few years, I wouldn't have known of many of the incredible rip-offs, crimes, boondoggles, and other Abramoff-esque antics of the repukes. I certainly wouldn't have learned of them from cable news, nor from our pathetic local newspaper. You, unlike the repukes, seem not to be afraid of an informed public. The free net is the best news ever for those of us who want to hear something besides the ol' Mighty Wurlitzer blasting in our ears.
In the Democrat imagination, were it not for the legislation passed by brave Democrats regulating the internet, the repukes would shut it down because they can’t tolerate an informed public.
Such an innocuous name: net neutrality. Who could be against that? And the Internet Nondiscrimination Act of 2006 sounds so fair! What bigot would dare oppose nondiscrimination?
Under the cover of these happy fuzzy words the Democrats are about to slap price controls on internet providers. Americans should be happy, as the consumers in the Soviet Union were under price controls. Oh, wait -- there were long lines and empty shelves? Scratch that.
Americans should be happy, as drivers in the 1970’s were under price controls. Oh, wait -- there were long lines and gasoline shortages? Scratch that.
Price controls cause shortages. Internet service will suffer somehow under this law. Internet providers will not continue to improve service as much as they would without this law.
But making the internet better is not really the point of all this legislation. Giving the state power over the internet is the point. Socialists simply cannot stand free Americans having power over their own lives. They must stick the state’s gun in the ribs of the internet and say, “Listen, Bud -- we’re taking over now. Just do as we say and you won’t get hurt.”
As one commenter above noted, "they're just getting started--they aren't even in power yet!"