Net Neutrality Rides Again
The Internet Freedom Preservation Act (HR 3458) is in the congressional hopper, thanks to Rep. Ed Markey (D-MA) and Rep. Anna Eschoo (D-CA), who have revived the political debate over who controls access to the Internet.
The bill would prevent Internet service providers - such as AT&T, Verizon, Comcast or Time-Warner - from blocking, impairing or discriminating against the ability of users to access, send, receive or post or any content over the Internet. ISPs would be prohibited from charging any additional fees for any content. The Net Neutrality battle - which raged two years ago - could affect the relationships of CE dealers with ISPs, and has longer-term implications for alliances between digital content suppliers (such as movie downloading companies) and broadband carriers. Congress is expected to take up the issue when it returns from its August recess.
President Obama has strongly backed such neutrality, but telephone and cable companies - while promising they will be fair to all users - have previously battled formal restrictions, claiming they should be entitled to prioritize content traveling through their pipelines if the need exists.