Senators request new hearing on net neutrality


Byron Dorgan (D-ND) and Olympia Snowe (R-ME) have reached across the aisle in the past to promote the concept of network neutrality. Concerns about cable and telephone companies playing an active gatekeeper role when providing internet access have prompted the duo to call for a new hearing on the topic.

"Over the past several months there have been incidents that have raised serious concerns about the phone and cable companies’ power to discriminate against content," they wrote in a letter to Commerce Committee chair Daniel Inouye (D-HI) (both are members of the committee). "Just recently, Verizon Wireless arbitrarily chose to block a series of text messages on the grounds that the subject matter was too controversial." They credited Verizon for reversing this decision, then added, "Then came news that AT&T reserves the right in its Terms of Service to discontinue the service of customers that criticize the company. And just last week, we saw reports of Comcast interfering with the popular file-sharing service BitTorrent."

Noting that providers have provided assurances that they would not discriminate based on content, they concluded, "These recent events suggest that response is well short of being sufficient and this Congress should consider adopting targeted regulations to protect consumers and ensure an open and vibrant communications platform." They want a full committee hearing.

RBR/TVBR observation: Put us down for net neutrality. You are reading this right now because you – and RBR – both have access to a free and open Internet. We occasionally are critical of companies that may be carrying us into the homes and businesses of our subscribers. The notion that this relationship between the press and citizens can be disrupted by the carrier runs counter to the founding principles of the United States and absolutely must be protected.