Both Sides Crank Up the Heat over Net Neutrality

With just over a month to go before the Federal Communications Commission votes on new regulations for the Internet, rhetoric is heating up from both sides of the Net neutrality debate. At stake is whether Internet service will be regulated like a public utility -- a move backed by Net neutrality advocates and tech firms like Netflix and Etsy, but opposed by cable and telecom giants like Comcast, Verizon and Time Warner Cable.

During the public comment period on the issue last year, the FCC fielded a record-breaking 4 million-plus comments on the matter, with the sentiment overwhelmingly in favor of utility-like regulation and against the possibility of Internet "fast lanes" for those willing to pay for speedier content delivery. The scale of support has prompted some former opponents to change their tactics ahead of the FCC's vote on Feb. 26.

In fact, the latest proposal to protect Net neutrality is coming from an unlikely source: Congressional Republicans, who now hold the majority in both the House and the Senate. A Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation hearing set for Wednesday and led by Sen. John Thune, R-S.D., is expected to tackle the topic of "Protecting the Internet and Consumers through Congressional Action."

'Act without Delay'

In a statement last week announcing the hearing, Thune said the forum would provide "an opportunity to discuss and gather input from experts on ways Congress can focus on a solution that avoids saddling the Internet with an arcane regulatory framework designed for the monopoly phone era."

Thune has laid out 11 "principles for bipartisan rules in the Internet Age." These would prohibit Internet service providers from blocking or throttling traffic or offering prioritized service for pay -- all of which long have been advocated by backers of Net neutrality. However, the Republican plan...

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Both Sides Crank Up the Heat over Net Neutrality

With just over a month to go before the Federal Communications Commission votes on new regulations for the Internet, rhetoric is heating up from both sides of the Net neutrality debate. At stake is whether Internet service will be regulated like a public utility -- a move backed by Net neutrality advocates and tech firms like Netflix and Etsy, but opposed by cable and telecom giants like Comcast, Verizon and Time Warner Cable.

During the public comment period on the issue last year, the FCC fielded a record-breaking 4 million-plus comments on the matter, with the sentiment overwhelmingly in favor of utility-like regulation and against the possibility of Internet "fast lanes" for those willing to pay for speedier content delivery. The scale of support has prompted some former opponents to change their tactics ahead of the FCC's vote on Feb. 26.

In fact, the latest proposal to protect Net neutrality is coming from an unlikely source: Congressional Republicans, who now hold the majority in both the House and the Senate. A Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation hearing set for Wednesday and led by Sen. John Thune, R-S.D., is expected to tackle the topic of "Protecting the Internet and Consumers through Congressional Action."

'Act without Delay'

In a statement last week announcing the hearing, Thune said the forum would provide "an opportunity to discuss and gather input from experts on ways Congress can focus on a solution that avoids saddling the Internet with an arcane regulatory framework designed for the monopoly phone era."

Thune has laid out 11 "principles for bipartisan rules in the Internet Age." These would prohibit Internet service providers from blocking or throttling traffic or offering prioritized service for pay -- all of which long have been advocated by backers of Net neutrality. However, the Republican plan...

Comments are closed.