Republicans defeat Net neutrality proposal
By Declan McCullagh
A partisan divide pitting Republicans against Democrats on the question of Internet regulation appears to be deepening.
A Republican-controlled House Energy and Commerce subcommittee on Wednesday defeated a proposal that would have levied extensive regulations on broadband providers and forcibly prevented them from offering higher-speed video services to partners or affiliates.
By an 8-to-23 margin, the committee members rejected a Democratic-backed “Net neutrality” amendment to a current piece of telecommunications legislation. The amendment had attracted support from companies including Amazon.com, eBay, Google, Microsoft and Yahoo, and their chief executives wrote a last-minute letter to the committee on Wednesday saying such a change to the legislation was “critical.”
Before the vote, amendment sponsor Rep. Ed Markey, a Massachusetts Democrat, assailed his Republican colleagues. “We’re about to break with the entire history of the Internet,” Markey said. “Everyone should understand that.”
This philosophical rift extends beyond the precise wording of the telecommunications legislation. It centers on whether broadband providers will be free to design their networks as they see fit and enjoy the latitude to prioritize certain types of traffic—such as streaming video—over others.