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Net Neutrality Gets a Second Hearing
By: Terri Wells
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    Table of Contents:
  • Net Neutrality Gets a Second Hearing
  • Momentum for Net Neutrality
  • The Opposing Viewpoint
  • Which Side Will Win?

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    Net Neutrality Gets a Second Hearing - The Opposing Viewpoint

    (Page 3 of 4 )

    On the Republican side of the aisle, the rhetoric is all about free markets. Former House Majority Leader Dick Armey summed up that view in a press release where he stated that “The real problem is that there is already too much government meddling in the telecom sector. Instead of net neutrality mandates, Congress should move to pass sweeping reforms to bring greater broadband competition to America. That’s the best way to ensure an open and dynamic Internet.” Armey goes on to say that net neutrality regulations are unnecessary, since the Internet “has done just fine without the help of regulators and politicians.”

    The Republicans aren’t the only politicians who stand opposed to a net neutrality bill. When Edward Markey (D-MA) proposed a similar bill (the one that was defeated in the middle of last year), 58 Democrats voted against it. Why? Well, many Democrats have historically sided with unions. If a neutral Internet will discourage broadband service providers from investing in and expanding their networks, as many telecommunications companies argue, then union jobs will be adversely affected.

    That is one of the major arguments of the telecoms. What kind of incentive would they have to invest billions of dollars in updating and expanding their networks if they can’t charge for faster service? The companies argue that the lack of upgrades would be even more harmful to consumers in the long run than a neutral Internet.

    As stated previously, however, there is nothing in the proposed legislation that forbids the telecoms from charging more for faster access to the Internet. It specifically states that “Nothing…shall be construed to prohibit a broadband service provider from engaging in any activity…including…offering directly to each user broadband service that does not distinguish based on the source or ownership of content, application, or service, at different prices based on defined levels of bandwidth or the actual quality of data flow over a user’s connection…” In other words, under the proposed legislation, broadband service providers would still be able to charge more to their consumers for better connections to the Internet; they just couldn’t charge more for better connections to specific kinds of content.

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