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Net Neutrality : Lawyers silence is deafening (Real Lawyers Have Blogs)

Posted by Jake on Fri Jul 07, 2006 at 10:14:10

Attorney Kevin O'Keefe, president and founder of LexBlog, a provider of marketing blogs to lawyers and other professional service firms, and creator of the Real Lawyers Have Blogs blog, writes:

Looks like the majority of lawyers publishing blogs are taking the easy way out and taking no stand on net neutrality.

It's an embarrassment to the legal profession which should act as champions of a citizen's rights. Heck, even if you against net neutrality so that telecoms can create a tier two Internet system, at least come out and say so.

Read Kevin's entire post at LexBlog.com.

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Congressional Research Service: Danger to Net Neutrality Exists

Posted by Jake on Thu Jul 06, 2006 at 11:00:00

If you can get through it, the Congressional Research Service report, "Access to Broadband Networks" - dated June 28, 2006 - tells you everything you need to know about Network Neturality:

CRS analyst Charles B. Goldfarb notes that the telcos and cable TV will not want to “restrict the availability or quality of applications” that you or I can get at because it will reduce our demand for their services and increase the likelihood of new competition arising.

Having said that, however, he continues (and forgive the long quotation, but this is the key):

“At the same time, to the extent that the broadband network providers seek to maximize their revenues for what they perceive as the killer broadband applications – voice and video service today, perhaps interactive games or other applications in the future – they will have an incentive to build, operate and manage their broadband network in a fashion that favors their own applications over competitors’ applications. With only limited alternatives to the cable and telephone broadband duopoly for the foreseeable future, and with the cable and telephone companies both pursuing largely the same business plan, the broadband providers might have both the incentive and the ability to exploit their control over access to end users to restrict competition (and the innovation it might bring) and harm consumers.”

You can see and download the entire CRS report here.

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Senate Commerce Commitee Vote A Tie! (See How They Voted)

06-28-2006

The It's Our Net Coalition issued the following statement today after the Senate Commerce Committee cast a tie vote of 11-11 on the Net Neutrality amendment introduced by Senators Olympia Snowe and Byron Dorgan:

The intense debate that resulted in a today's tie vote (11-11) on Net Neutrality clearly underscores the Senate Commcerce Committee's discomfort with abandoning rules that until now have ensured an open, innovative and competitive Internet marketplace. Senators Olympia Snowe (R-ME) and Bryon Dorgan (D-ND) have been unfailing champions for Internet users across America, and we thank them for their understanding and dedication to an Internet without discrimination.

The issue of Net Neutrality will not go away. Over the past several months, a groundswell of grassroots concern has emerged from a broad spectrum of right-left organizations, consumer and public interest groups, Internet companies, educational institutions, trade associations, innovators, venture capitalists, and family and religious groups. Their voices will only grow louder as more Americans learn what is at stake.

We strongly urge Members of the Senate to not take up the overall telecom bill unless and until strong Net Neutrality provisions are included. We are confident that Congress will ultimately do the right thing for consumers, competition and the future of the Internet by ensuring that Net Neutrality prevails and that the Internet remains the remarkable open marketplace for ideas and innovation that it is today.

How the Senate Commerce Committee voted on Net Neutrality: 11-11

Republicans
Chairman Ted Stevens (AK) -- No

John McCain (AZ) -- No

Conrad Burns (MT) -- No

Trent Lott (MS) -- No

Kay Bailey Hutchison (TX) -- No

Olympia J. Snowe (ME) -- YES

Gordon H. Smith (OR) -- No

John Ensign (NV) -- No

George Allen (VA) -- No

John E. Sununu (NH) -- No

Jim DeMint (SC) -- No

David Vitter (LA) -- No

Democrats

Co-Chairman Daniel K. Inouye (HI) – YES

John D. Rockefeller (WV) – YES

John F. Kerry (MA) – YES

Byron L. Dorgan (ND) – YES

Barbara Boxer (CA) – YES

Bill Nelson (FL) – YES

Maria Cantwell (WA) – YES

Frank R. Lautenberg (NJ) – YES

E. Benjamin Nelson (NE) – YES

Mark Pryor (AR) -- YES

How the Senate Commerce Committee voted on final passage of the communications bill: 15-7

Republicans

Chairman Ted Stevens (AK) – YES

John McCain (AZ) – YES

Conrad Burns (MT) – YES

Trent Lott (MS) – YES

Kay Bailey Hutchison (TX) – YES

Olympia J. Snowe (ME) – YES

Gordon H. Smith (OR) – YES

John Ensign (NV) – YES

George Allen (VA) – YES

John E. Sununu (NH) – YES

Jim DeMint (SC) – YES

David Vitter (LA) – YES

Democrats

Co-Chairman Daniel K. Inouye (HI) – YES

John D. Rockefeller (WV) – No

John F. Kerry (MA) – No

Byron L. Dorgan (ND) – No

Barbara Boxer (CA) – No

Bill Nelson (FL) – No

Maria Cantwell (WA) – No

Frank R. Lautenberg (NJ) – No

E. Benjamin Nelson (NE) – YES

Mark Pryor (AR) – YES

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Consumer choice always assured by regulatory safeguards

Tue Jun 27, 2006 at 08:39:13

NetMyth: The Internet has never been regulated.

NetFact: Until FCC decisions made last summer, consumers’ ability to choose the content and services they want via their broadband connections had always been assured by regulatory safeguards.

In the zone of governmental noninterference that has surrounded the Internet, there has always been one fundamental exception: from the Internet's inception, it has always operated under minimal non-discrimination requirements for the so-called last mile to consumers. Developed by the FCC over a decade before the commercial advent of the Internet, these rules required that the underlying providers of last-mile network facilities – the incumbent local telephone companies – allow end users to access Internet content and services of their choosing, and utilize any device they desired - without interference from the network operator.

These consumer safeguards allowed the Internet itself to remain as open and “unregulated” as was designed originally. This open platform became the heart and soul of the Internet. It is hard to imagine the innovation and creativity of the commercial Internet ever occurring in the 1990s without those minimal but necessary market safeguards already in place. By removing any possibility of interference or discrimination from the network provider this policy paved the way for an explosion in what some have called “innovation without permission.” We witnessed the products of fertile minds like Tim Berners-Lee with the World Wide Web, and Yair Goldfinger with Instant Messaging, and David Filo and Jerry Yang with Yahoo!, and Jeff Bezos with Amazon. And we all have benefited enormously from their myriad inventions.

Net Neutrality Matters. Protect the Open Internet.

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Internet companies collectively pay billions of dollars per year to network operators

Tue Jun 27, 2006 at 08:36:28

NetMyth: Internet companies are "free riders"

NetFact: Internet companies collectively pay billions of dollars per year to network operators for Internet connectivity and transport. That money fully compensates the network operators for their network investment. The Internet companies separately spend billions of dollars more for Internet backbone capacity, much of which goes to the telephone companies as well, now the Internet backbone market has also been consolidated due to the Bell mergers with AT&T; and MCI.

Overall, the four Bell companies alone make some 14 billion dollars annually in revenues from selling special access services to Internet content and applications companies, Internet service providers, and other corporate and institutional users of the local network. FCC figures show that this is a highly lucrative business, with returns over 50 percent. All of this return is in addition to the 20 billion dollars a year in fees that subscribers pay network operators for broadband access to the Internet.

* Remember: The reason why consumers spend all that money for broadband access is to reach the rich and compelling content, applications and services that Internet companies spend billions of dollars to create, develop and deploy.

Net Neutrality Matters. Protect the Open Internet.

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