Effort Renewed to Keep Web Fares Equal

Jan 9, 2007  •  Post A Comment

The fight to keep Internet providers from charging content companies higher fees for faster data speeds was rekindled today as senators led by Byron Dorgan, D-N.D., and Olympia Snowe, R-Maine, reintroduced so-called net-neutrality legislation.

The senators said their Internet Freedom Preservation Act is vital to preventing discrimination between content providers. Charging different companies different rates would “fundamentally change the way the Internet has operated and threatens to derail the democratic nature of the Internet,” Sen. Dorgan said in a statement Tuesday.

“The Internet became a robust engine of economic development by enabling anyone with a good idea to connect to consumers and compete on a level playing field,” he said. “The marketplace picked winners and losers, not some central gatekeeper. That freedom-the very core of what makes the Internet what it is today – must be preserved.”

“Net Neutrality – better named Net Regulation – is trying to solve a problem that doesn’t exist,” said Peter Davidson, Verizon’s senior VP-federal government regulations.

“There is a ‘disconnect’ between consumers’ desires for new products and services and the stifling effects of this bill. Turning to Net Regulation at this point would be a huge step backward,” he said.

The tide has turned against those who want to put a toll road on the Internet, Snowe said.

Co-sponsors of the legislation include Sens. John Kerry, D-Mass.; Barbara Boxer, D-Calif.; Tom Harkin, D-Iowa; Patrick Leahy, D-VT; Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y.; and Barack Obama, D-Ill.

(Editor: Baumann)