Last updated: February 21, 2008 - 2:44am
SENATE JUDICIARY TAKES INTEREST IN TELECOM BILL
Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Arlen Specter (R-PA) said on Wednesday his panel should be involved in crafting telecommunications reform legislation because of antitrust issues. Much of the controversy surrounding the legislation is whether safeguards are needed to ensure consumers can surf wherever they choose on the Internet and if high-speed broadband Internet providers should be banned from charging content companies to ensure access and service quality. Senators at Wednesday's Judiciary Committee hearing were divided on whether adopting tough Internet regulations would hamper innovation or if the protection is needed to ensure consumers do not face limits on access to content or higher prices for it. Republicans urged restraint against imposing regulations, while Democrats said protections would ensure equal access by all. Judiciary Committee Co-chairman Patrick Leahy, a Vermont Democrat, said he would like to see a "strong bill" akin to a proposal offered by Republican Jim Sensenbrenner and Democrat John Conyers on the House side. Known as the "Internet Freedom and Nondiscrimination Act of 2006," that bill proposed, among other things, making it illegal under federal antitrust law for network operators to impose priority-access fees on content providers or to fail to provide service on "reasonable and nondiscriminatory terms." If the Judiciary Committee asserts jurisdiction over the legislation, that could take more time and make it more difficult to pass a bill this year. Congress has a shorter work schedule this year because of the November congressional elections. "I want to talk to Senator Stevens about it to decide what to do," Sen Specter said. "Whatever we do will be collaborative, try to work it out together."
* FTC Testifies on Broadband Internet Access Services
The Federal Trade Commission today told the Senate Judiciary Committee that as the Committee considers legislation to amend the Communications Act, it should preserve the FTCâ€™s existing authority to protect consumers and maintain competition in the broadband services industry. Delivering the FTC testimony, Commissioner William E. Kovacic said the agency believes it has jurisdiction over most broadband Internet access services.
* Cohen: Net Neutrality About Neutering Cable
Comcast Corp. executive vice president David Cohen said in Senate testimony Wednesday that Google Inc., Microsoft Corp. and others that advocate â€œnet-neutralityâ€ laws were actually seeking to transform cable networks into â€œdump pipesâ€ denied the right to innovate.
* Senate ponders policing of Net neutrality offenses
* Senate Judiciary Weighs In On Net Neutrality
* Google Queried on Net Neutrality Ads
Vinton Cerf, Google's chief Internet evangelist, told a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing Wednesday that the company's advertisements along the side of the search engine are according to an open auction.
* Google E-Mail Highlights Division Over 'Network Neutrality' Issue
- SavetheInternet.com Claims Million Pro-Net Neutrality E-Mails
- Hearing -- Reconsidering Our Communications Laws: Ensuring Competition and Innovation
- CWA Opposes Sensenbrenner Net Neutrality Bill
- Congress Bustles With Busywork
- Senate Judiciary Panel Eyes Telecom Proposal
- House Judiciary Passes Net Neutrality Measure
- Boucher, Goodlatte Discuss 'Network Neutrality' Plan
- Judiciary Unlikely to Get a Crack at Barton's Telecom Bill
- Sensenbrenner Tries, Tries Again
- Judiciary Committee To Seek A Piece Of House Telecom Bill
- Barton Shielding Telecom Bill From House Judiciary Panel
- Republicans propose last-minute spy bill
- Hardware firms oppose Net neutrality laws
- Senators To Unveil New IP Bill
- House Schedule Excludes Barton Bill