Dorgan back to work on net neutrality


Byron Dorgan (D-ND) previously teamed up with Olympia Snowe (R-ME) to put forth legislation enshrining the concept of network neutrality for internet service providers into law. Now that new FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski is also working on it, he’s getting ready to try again.

Dorgan said that it was his belief that Genachowski has all the authority he needs to write regulations concerning the relationship between ISPs and web traffic. However, on the theory that there are others on Capitol Hill who may not agree with him, he’s prepared to go the extra mile to give Genachowski cover.

He said he’s going to discuss the matter with Snowe soon, according to a Washington Post tech blog. His idea is to put together a bill that would simply assist Genachowski in getting his job done – in other words, Dorgan doesn’t want to write the rules, he just wants to make sure that Genachowski CAN write them.

RBR-TVBR observation: The numbers really stack up in favor of net neutrality these days. It’s a populist issue in that it’s seen as a good thing for “the people” (and we put “the people” in quotes deliberately, as “the people” were often seen in the 60s). That appeals to Democrats, and Democrats are in charge at all the key places – the FCC, Congress and the White House.

But it’s also a business v. business battle, and some of the businesses standing with the people are huge, and perfectly capable of launching their own massive lobbying campaign. That presents the possibility of dividing Republican votes that would normally go to the business side. And it’s less likely that centrist Democrats will stray from the party line.