Wednesday, April 26, 2006


Benton Foundation provides links to "network neutrality" resources

Kevin Tagland ( ), who prepares a weekday summary of
communications-related headlines, went all out on Wed., April 26, posting
via email a summary a links on the "network neutrality" issue in advance
of a congressional hearing. Here is an excerpt of his email.

[SOURCE: Chicago Sun-Times, AUTHOR: Lynn Sweet]
A Chicago community center founded by Rep. Bobby Rush (D-II), a key player on
telecommunications legislation, received a $1 million grant from the charitable
arm of SBC/AT&T, one of the nation's largest phone companies. Sheila Krumholz,
the acting executive director of the nonpartisan Center for Responsive
Politics, says Rep Rush's ongoing association with the Rebirth of Englewood
Community Development Corporation and his role in shaping telecommunications
law as a member of the House Commerce Committee is a conflict of interest.
Today, the Commerce Committee, on which Rep Rush sits, is set to vote on a
controversial rewrite of telecommunications law co-sponsored by Rep Rush and
backed by major phone companies eager to compete with cable television
companies. "People can disagree about where to draw the line on contributions
and abstaining from votes, but $1 million is definitely over that line,"
Krumholz said. Rep Rush is the only Democrat to sponsor the "Communications
Opportunity Promotion and Enhancement Act of 2006." He has been working with
committee chair Rep. Joe Barton (R-Texas) to promote the "Barton-Rush" bill.
The SBC charity made the first of a series of payments totaling $1 million in
2001 to the Englewood group to create the still unbuilt "Bobby L. Rush Center
for Community Technology." The final check was written in 2004, with the SBC
Foundation delaying the last payment for a year over concerns that the project
was not moving forward. The Rush center is now expected to open within the next
12 months.

[SOURCE: Broadcasting&Cable, AUTHOR: John Eggerton]
The "Net Neutrality" debate raged in Washington Tuesday, the subject of a
hearing in the House Judiciary Committee and of countless letters to and from
legislators on the issue as lobbyists geared up for a markup on a video
franchising bill Wednesday. A House Commerce Committee bill allowing national
video franchises also promotes telco provision of Internet access. And there's
the rub. Because telcos want to be able to offer enhanced services over their
networks, and charge content providers for those services, those who see one
company's enhancement as another's degradation are concerned that those network
providers will discriminate in Internet access provision., discouraging
innovation and requiring Internet content providers to pay "protection" money
not to have their service degraded. On the telco side, Walter McCormick,
promised legislators that the companies he represents would not "block, impair,
or degrade" access. He also told the committee that antitrust laws, as they
already exist, guard against restraint of trade and should be able to insure
that so-called "network neutrality." McCormick says that companies like Disney
have approached them about setting up virtual private networks--where they
could securely distribute video content, for example--and that those companies
should bear the cost of that enhanced services. Proponents of stronger network
neutrality rules counter that that scenario means that others service will be,
de facto, degraded, since the bigger pipe will go to the company willing or
able to pay for it

* McCormick: Telcos Won't Block Web Content

* Network neutrality = open
[SOURCE: TPM cafe, AUTHOR: Former FCC Chairman Reed Hundt]
[Commentary] Since someone asked, there are four categories of meaning to the
term "open networks," and the current debate falls quickly into terminological
confusion as a result. Networks can be (1) open to all content [like the Web is
designed to be, and TV and newspapers are not], (2) open to connection with all
other networks [like the Internet is designed to be, and the telephone network
is ordered to be by the regulators], (3) open to all people [like free over the
air broadcast TV, and not like cable TV], (4) and open to all designs.

* The Neutrality Non-Debate
[SOURCE: American Prospect, AUTHOR: Matthew Yglesias]
[Commentary] "Network neutrality" regulation is complicated. Potential changes
deserve real scrutiny, not a quiet congressional pass on behalf of the telecom
industry. The issue has been languishing in an obscurity all out of proportion
to its objective importance. Most people have no idea what network neutrality
is, and most of the ones who do know probably heard about it in the past two
weeks. At a minimum, the status quo seems to work fine, while there are
credible arguments that making the change would be a giant mistake. If this
change really is a good idea, surely it could withstand some public scrutiny
and debate. Instead, telecom companies seem determined to push it through under
cover of night and, so far, Congress is happy to help.

[SOURCE: Broadcasting&Cable, AUTHOR: John Eggerton]
Ranking House Telecommunications Subcommittee Member Ed Markey (D-MA) says he
will introduce a "network neutrality" amendment to a national video franchise
bill. Rep Markey announced the amendment during opening statements on a video
franchise bill that will be marked up in the committee Wednesday. Rep Markey
and several co-sponsors including Anna Eshoo (D-Calif.) and Rick Boucher
(D-Va.) are concerned that the current bill does not sufficiently protect
against network discrimination in the provision of Internet access. The network
neutrality issue has surpassed red-lining and the lack of build-out
requirements as the hottest video franchise bill-related issue in Washington.
See Rep Markey's statement at the URL below.

* Opening Statement at the "COPE" Markup on Network Neutrality

* Congress must protect free access to Web sites, services
[SOURCE: San Jose Mercury News, AUTHOR: Rep Anna G. Eshoo (D-CA)]
[Commentary] The "battle for 'net neutrality' will determine the future of the
Internet and the continued innovation and technological development the
Internet has produced.

* Democrats pledge fight over Net neutrality

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