Advanced Television

Net neutrality bill underway

February 14, 2008

Congressman Edward Markey introduced his bill that would change federal laws to make sure Internet traffic has protections similar to phone calls, which companies are required to connect without hesitation. The “Internet Freedom Preservation Act,” says it is the policy of the US to “maintain the freedom to use for lawful purposes broadband telecommunications networks, including the Internet, without unreasonable interference from or discrimination by network operators.” The bill would give the Federal Communications Commission more authority to police Internet providers to make sure they’re delivering traffic fairly.

Meanwhile, comments are due at the FCC in the agency’s investigation of complaints that Comcast is deliberately slowing some Internet traffic, as well as a broader look at what should be done about such complaints in the future.

The stepped-up efforts by regulators and lawmakers to enforce what tech-industry officials call “net neutrality” come as an explosion in downloading of online video is prompting cable and phone companies to rethink their Internet pricing models, opening the door for fee plans based on the extent of usage.

Cable and telephone companies say their networks are being overwhelmed by huge increases in video downloading. In December, a record 10 billion videos were viewed online, researcher comScore reported.

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