Offering frequent news and analysis from the majestic Evergreen State and beyond, The Cascadia Advocate is the Northwest Progressive Institute's unconventional perspective on world, national, and local politics.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Victory on Net Neutrality

Great news from the District of Columbia!

The House Judiciary Committee has just passed the "Internet Freedom and Nondiscrimination Act of 2006″ — a bill that helps protect Net Neutrality.

The vote was 20-13-1 on the Judiciary Committee. All Democrats voted for the bill, except for one, who voted "present". The Democrats were joined by six Republicans. (The other thirteen Republicans supplied the no votes).

The bill, H.R. 5417, now moves to the full House and will be considered after Congress returns from its Memorial Day recess. Here's the text of the bill, sponsored by Republican Rep. Sensenbrenner and cosponsored by Democratic Rep. John Conyers:
To amend the Clayton Act with respect to competitive and nondiscriminatory access to the Internet.
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,

This Act may be cited as the ‘‘Internet Freedom and Nondiscrimination Act of 2006’’.

The purposes of this Act are to promote competition, to facilitate trade, and to ensure competitive and non discriminatory access to the Internet.

The Clayton Act (15 U.S.C. 12 et seq.) is amended — (1) by redesignating section 28 as section 29, (2) by inserting after section 27 the following:


SEC. 28. (a) It shall be unlawful for any broadband network provider—
  1. ‘‘to fail to provide its broadband network services on reasonable and nondiscriminatory terms and conditions such that any person can offer or provide content, applications, or services to or over he network in a manner that is at least equal to the manner in which the provider or its affiliates offer content, applications, and services, free of any surcharge on the basis of the content, application, or service;
  2. ‘ to refuse to interconnect its facilities with the facilities of another provider of broadband net work services on reasonable and nondiscriminatory terms or conditions;
  3. ‘(A) to block, to impair, to discriminate against, or to interfere with the ability of any person to use a broadband network service to access, to use, to send, to receive, or to offer lawful content, applications or services over the Internet; or ‘(B) to impose an additional charge to avoid any conduct that is prohibited by this subsection;
  4. ‘ to prohibit a user from attaching or using a device on the provider’s network that does not physically damage or materially degrade other users’ utilization of the network; or
  5. ‘ to fail to clearly and conspicuously disclose to users, in plain language, accurate information concerning any terms, conditions, or limitations on the broadband network service.
‘‘(b) If a broadband network provider prioritizes or offers enhanced quality of service to data of a particular type, it must prioritize or offer enhanced quality of service to all data of that type (regardless of the origin or ownership of such data) without imposing a surcharge or other consideration for such prioritization or enhanced quality of service.

‘‘(c) Nothing in this section shall be construed to prevent a broadband network provider from taking reasonable and nondiscriminatory measures—
  1. ‘‘to manage the functioning of its network to protect the security of such network and broadband network services if such management does not result in discrimination among the content, applications, or services on the network;
  2. ‘ to give priority to emergency communications; or
  3. ‘ to prevent a violation of a Federal or State law, or to comply with an order of a court to enforce such law.
‘(d) For purposes of this section -
  1. ‘ the term ‘affiliate’ means — ‘‘(A) a person that directly or indirectly owns, controls, is owned or controlled by, or is under the common ownership or control with another person; or ‘‘(B) a person that has a contract or other arrangement with a content or service provider concerning access to, or distribution of, such content or such service;
  2. ‘‘ the term ‘broadband network provider’ means a person engaged in commerce that owns, controls, operates, or resells any facility used to provide broadband network service to the public, by whatever technology and without regard to whether provided for a fee, in exchange for an explicit benefit, or for free;
  3. ‘‘the term ‘broadband network service’ means a 2-way transmission service that connects to the Internet and transmits information at an average rate of at least 200 kilobits per second in at least one direction, irrespective of whether such transmission is provided separately or as a component of another service; and
  4. ‘‘ the term ‘user’ means a person who takes and uses broadband network service, whether pro vided for a fee, in exchange for an explicit benefit or for free.’’, and by amending subsection (a) and the 1st sentence of subsection (b) of section 11 by striking ‘‘and 8’’ and inserting ‘‘8, and 29’’.
----END ----

The Northwest Progressive Institute applauds the House Judiciary Committee for approving this important legislation which protects Internet freedom. The Internet is the most democratic medium of communication ever invented, and the government cannot allow it to be subverted by telephone and cable companies for corporate profit.

<< Home