Friday, June 09, 2006

Net Neutrality Rejected by the House

Via BBC Online...
US politicians have rejected attempts to enshrine the principle of net neutrality in legislation.
Some fear the decision will mean net providers start deciding on behalf of customers which websites and services they can visit and use.
The rejection of the principle of net neutrality came during a debate on the wide-ranging Communications Opportunity, Promotion and Enhancement Act (Cope Act).

Among other things, this aims to make it easier for telecoms firms to offer video services around America by replacing 30,000 local franchise boards with a national system overseen by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).
An amendment to the Act tried to add clauses that would demand net service firms treat equally all the data passing through their cables.

The amendment was thought to be needed after the FCC ripped up its rules that guaranteed net neutrality.

During the debate House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi, said that without the amendment "telecommunications and cable companies will be able to create toll lanes on the information superhighway".

"This strikes at the heart of the free and equal nature of the internet," she added.
Prior to the vote net firms worried about the effect of the amendment on their business lobbied hard in favour of the amendment. They fear their sites will become hard to reach or that they will be forced to pay to guarantee that they can get through to web users.
The amendment was defeated by 269 votes to 152 and the Cope Act was passed by 321-101 votes.

The debate over the issue now moves to the US Senate where the Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee will vote on its version of the act in late June. The debate in that chamber is also likely to centre on issues of net neutrality.
If you haven't already signed the Save the Internet petition, please do so soon, before the Senate votes on the COPE act. Calling or writing your Senators wouldn't hurt either.

While you're at it, why not contact AT&T and Verizon, and tell them what you think of their opposition to net neutrality. AT&T's corporate contact for Federal Regulatory/Legislative issues is Mike Balmoris, who can be contacted at Their contact for Corporate Issues is Larry Solomon, at, and for Consumer Issues, is Sue McCain, at (I'm nothing if not thorough!)

For Verizon, contact David Fish in Federal Regulatory/Legilative Issues at, Jim Smith, Director of Products and Services at, and Bobbi Henson, Director of Broadband and Internet Services at

Yes, it's slow at work, and I'm bored. So, I'm killing time by digging up the information you need to harrass corporate executives. Have fun!