Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Net Neutrality Back in Play

Democratic politicians argued for a law designed to stop broadband operators from creating a “fast lane” for certain Internet content and applications at an April 22 US Commerce Committee hearing on the future of the Internet. The move drew the predictable opposition from the cable industry, Republicans, and FCC Chairman Kevin Martin.

Discussion during the hearing centered on whether the FCC already has sufficient authority to take action against network operators who interfere with their customers' Internet use. Comcast says no. Democrats like Sen. John Kerry, a backer of the Internet Freedom Preservation Act, argue that legislation is needed to clarify the FCC's enforcement role.

Stanford Law School Professor Lawrence Lessig urged the passage of legislation that is as “minimal and (as) clear as possible." Without such measures, he said, investors will be discouraged from devising applications because they won't know what the network will look like in five years.

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