Senators want network blocking probe

Two US Senators have called for a congressional hearing to investigate allegations that phone and cable companies are stifling communications over the Internet and on mobile phones.

Sens. Byron Dorgan, and Olympia Snowe, said the incidents involving several companies, including Comcast, Verizon Wireless and AT&T, have raised serious concerns over networks “power to discriminate against content.”

They want the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee to investigate whether such incidents were based on legitimate business policies or unfair and anticompetitive practices and if more federal regulation is needed.

“The phone and cable companies have previously stated that they would never use their market power to operate as content gatekeepers and have called efforts to put rules in place to protect consumers ‘a solution in search of a problem,”‘ they said in their hearing request.

Comcast – the nation’s number two Internet provider – has acknowledged “delaying” some subscriber Internet data, but said the delays are temporary and intended to improve surfing for other users.

Dorgan, earlier this year was among Senators who introduced legislation promoting “Net neutrality,” the principle that all Internet traffic be treated equally by carriers.

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