NY Times: current state of 'net neutrality

NY Times: current state of 'net neutrality

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There's been some good news, assuming that AT&T doesn't renege, here

One of the big winners in the last election may turn out to be the principle, known as net neutrality, that Internet service providers should not be able to favor some content over others. Democrats who are moving into the majority in Congress — led by Ron Wyden in the Senate and Edward Markey in the House — say they plan to fight hard to pass a net neutrality bill, and we hope that they do. It is vital to preserve the Internet’s role in promoting entrepreneurship and free expression.

Passing the legislation will not be easy. The cable and telephone companies have fought net neutrality with a lavishly financed and misleading lobbying campaign, because they stand to gain an enormous windfall. But there is growing support from individuals and groups across the political spectrum, from MoveOn.org to the Gun Owners of America, who worry about what will happen to their free speech if Internet service providers are allowed to pick and choose the traffic they carry.

In the last week, there was a limited but important victory for net neutrality. As a condition of approving the AT&T-BellSouth merger, the Federal Communications Commission required AT&T to guarantee net neutrality on its broadband service for the next two years. The commission was right to extract this concession, but it should not be necessary to negotiate separate deals like this one. On the information superhighway, net neutrality should be a basic rule of the road.

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