The ISP network throttling debate continues on Capital Hill: News.com reports that two Democratic Congressmen, John Conyers from Michigan and Zoe Lofgren from California, have introduced new legislation designed to prevent network providers from prioritizing Internet traffic and content.
Just like last time, the bill would rewrite U.S. antitrust law to prohibit network operators like AT&T and Comcast from blocking, impairing, or discriminating against "lawful" Internet content, applications, and services or charging extra fees for "prioritization or enhanced quality of service."
"The Internet was designed without centralized control, without gatekeepers for content and services," Conyers said in a statement. "If we allow companies with monopoly or duopoly power to control how the Internet operates, network providers could have the power to choose what content is available."
This is not the first time such legislation has been proposed. Similar bills were proposed in 2006, but were never passed into law. Proponents of enacting net neutrality legislation are a number of big Internet companies such as Google
and Yahoo, as well as advocacy groups, such as Consumers Union
and the American Electronics Association
--who "argue rules are necessary to keep the Internet free, open, and democratic, so that small start-ups can be on a level playing field with more established companies
Network operators such as Comcast
, not surprisingly, oppose such legislation on grounds that "new rules will stifle investments in new broadband networks and deprive them of the flexibility they need to keep their services running smoothly
." Many share the opinion of Cisco's Robert Pepper
that the market will adjust accordingly to the needs of the users and that a tiered system will better meet the varied demands of those users, therefore government-mandated oversight is not necessary.
Even readers of HotHardware appear split
in their opinions as to whether net neutrality legislation is necessary. We'd like to know what you think about the net neutrality debate, so please tell us your thoughts in the comments below.