Congressional Democrats lead opposition to Google/Verizon plan to limit net neutrality

Why are these men smiling?

Four Democratic members of the U.S. House of Representatives have voiced opposition to a network neutrality proposal offered by Google and Verizon Communications last week, with the lawmakers saying the two companies shouldn’t set the rules for how U.S. residents access the Internet.

The four lawmakers — Representatives Jay Inslee of Washington, Ed Markey of Massachusetts, Anna Eshoo of California and Mike Doyle of Pennsylvania — said they opposed several pieces of the Verizon/Google plan in a letter sent to the U.S. Federal Communications Commission Monday.

Americans’ online experience shouldn’t be dictated by corporate CEOs,” Inslee said in a statement. “Innovation and creativity online have given rise to millions of jobs and tremendous economic growth, in large part because individual consumers have been free to access what they want. Net neutrality is not about imposing a new set of rules, net neutrality is about preserving the open Internet and empowering consumers and small businesses to bring the next generation of entrepreneurial drive to the World Wide Web…”

The four lawmakers, all members of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, called for the FCC to set the same net neutrality rules for wireless broadband as it does for wired broadband. The proposal by Google and Verizon would exempt wireless broadband from net neutrality regulations. The committee has jurisdiction over most Internet-related law…

The lawmakers also raised concerns about the Verizon/Google proposal’s exemption from net neutrality rules for managed services, separate from the public Internet. “An overbroad definition of the proposed ‘managed services’ category would sap the vitality and stunt the growth of the Internet,” the lawmakers’ letter said. “In fact, an overly broad interpretation of managed services would create an exception that swallows the rule. Managed services might be rebranded or repackaged services and applications — only with priority treatment not available to competitors.”

It’s almost a surprise – having waited as long as we have to see political and economic alliances like this preparing to confront the future. Not only the future of the US [and North American] Internet market; but, the larger growth potential within the developing world. The latter relying even more upon wireless access to the Web.

No need to address collateral questions and complaints – I’ll leave that to those who consider the Web part of their religion. But, we have a unique opportunity to bring the FCC into play on behalf of consumers. An opening which has been blocked for decades by both flavors of the TweedleDeeDum political establishment.

Obama has moved the barrier to liberty for consumers vs. corporations about halfway. His “allies” are unlikely to help out very much – witness the grand total of four Democrats speaking out, right now.

If you care enough about Net Neutrality to make it an up or down vote in your life, I’d suggest getting hold of your elected representatives and telling them to get off their rusty dusty.

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