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Net Neutrality Bill Crosses House Hurdle

May 25, 2006  •  Post A Comment

A proposal that would ban broadband providers from favoring one Web site over another moved closer to becoming law Thursday after the House Judiciary Committee approved legislation from committee Chairman James Sensenbrenner, R-Wis., and Rep. John Conyers, D-Mich., the committee’s ranking minority member.

The measure, called the Internet Freedom and Nondiscrimination Act, passed on a 20-13 vote, with a majority of the committee’s Republican members voting no. The bill essentially specifies that antitrust laws apply to the broadband arena, ensuring what has come to be known as “network neutrality” among broadband providers.

A majority of the Republicans on the committee opposed the measure, in part because of their doubts that the measure would pass the full House.

The bill, which Reps. Sensenbrenner and Conyers introduced earlier this month, is fiercely opposed by cable and telephone companies, which are arguing that the legislation is unnecessary. Advocates support the legislation because of concerns that cable and telephone companies that own broadband networks could begin favoring Web sites in which they hold a stake or with which they have a partnership.