Support for Markey bill as Comcast strikes at FCC power

by Richard Koman, ZDNet

Google, Amazon.com — as well as FreePress and Public Knowledge — are lining up in favor of Rep. Ed Markey’s new version of net neutrality legislation, PC World says.

In the last go-round of the net neutrality debate — in which legislation went down to failure — the big ISPs claimed there was no need for the “added regulation.” But in the aftermath of Comcast’s throttling of upstream BitTorrent traffic, something “remarkable” has happened.

In its response to a petition by Free Press, Comcast argued that the FCC has essentially no enforcement powers against its actions.

“Free Press mistakenly relies on the [2005 FCC] Internet Policy Statement as creating rules the commission can enforce,” Comcast said.

Markham Erickson, the Open Internet Coalition’s executive director, said Comcast’s assertion:

appears to declare war on Internet users, policy makers and even the FCC. It essentially says that the FCC has no legal ability to protect consumers from discriminatory behavior.

Comcast denied that interpretation.

The Markey bill is not as far-reaching as the bills that died last year but Gigi Sohn, president of Public Knowledge, says: “It’s the right bill at the right time.”

The bill calls for the FCC to conduct a study with eight public comment sessions around the country. The telecoms’ “communication” outfit, Hands Off the Internet, looks to be ready to fight even this year’s watered-down version:

There’s no question that a reasoned examination of the facts will demonstrate the folly of net neutrality. However, we are concerned that an effort to seek public input is intended to be a stalking horse for federal Internet regulation. The continued push by special interests to regulate Internet neutrality undercuts the best hope Net users have for faster, more affordable broadband.

article originally published at http://government.zdnet.com/?p=3660.

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