House Panel Blocks Adding Broadband Fee on Content Companies

One for net neutrality: By a 20-13 vote Thursday, the House Judiciary Committee in U.S. approved a bill that would require broadband providers to abide by strict Net neutrality principles, meaning that their networks must be operated in a “nondiscriminatory” manner against companies like Amazon.com, Google, Yahoo and other content companies.
That vote is a surprise victory for Internet companies, the story says, though content companies had lobbied fiercely in the last few months for stricter laws to ensure that Verizon, AT&T and other broadband providers could not create a “fast lane” reserved for video or other high-priority content of their choice.
It is not that politicians favor net neutrality…it is all politics, as the story explains, so read it carefully…
From the release by the committee (PDF link): House Judiciary Committee Chairman F. James Sensenbrenner, Jr. (R-Wis.): “While I am not opposed to providers responsibly managing their networks and providing increased bandwidth to those consumers who wish to pay for it, I am opposed to providers giving
faster, more efficient access to certain service providers at the expense of others.”
The actual bill: H.R. 5417, the “Internet Freedom and Nondiscrimination Act” will give certainty to entrepreneurs, investors, and others who seek to deliver innovative ideas to market that they may do so without fearing discrimination. Specifically, this bill would amend the Clayton Act to require that network providers: 1) interconnect with the facilities of other network providers on a reasonable and nondiscriminatory basis; 2) operate their network in a reasonable and nondiscriminatory manner such that non-affiliated providers of content, services and applications have an equal opportunity to reach consumers; and 3) refrain from interfering with users’ ability to choose the lawful content, services and applications they want to use.
The full PDF of the bill is here
Staci adds: This bill isn’t going anywhere soon. According to a spokesman for the Judiciary committee, it will be offered as an amendment to the Barton bill (H.R. 5252); no vote is scheduled for that yet but a June vote is possible. (The House adjourns for Memorial Day recess tomorrow and won’t be back until the week of June 5.) There’s also no guarantee it will be allowed to be offered as an amendment to the Energy and Commerce bill or that it has enough votes to pass if it gets there. More from Ted Hearn.

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