Senator Dorgan Introduces Net Neutrality Bill to the Senate

Update a few minutes later: Here is the actual text of the Internet Freedom Preservation Act (PDF) in case you’re up for reading some legalese (or can’t get to sleep).

Possibly in an attempt to make himself more tech friendly, North Dakota’s Byran Dorgan has introduced a Net Neutrality bill to the Senate along with Olympia J. Snowe of Maine. The New York Times has an article about it, though they incorrectly list Dorgan as being from South Dakota instead of North Dakota:

NYTimes Error

If you’re not familiar with Net Neutrality, it basically boils down to keeping the Internet the way it is now, where data I send to you has equal “rights” as that sent from a big corporation. What phone and cable companies would like to do is provide “tiered” service, where their voice, data, and videos would get preferential treatment over packets from Skype, Vonage, YouTube, iTunes, etc. In short, Net Neutrality would keep everyone on a level playing field.

If you’re interested in reading more background, here are a few good links:

So, for as hard of a time as I give Senator Dorgan and North Dakota’s other Congressmen, I applaud him for pushing for this. It’s an important step that needs to be taken to protect innovation and small businesses.

I also thank him for not making a complete ass of himself over this issue like Senator Ted Stevens did back in June. If you didn’t hear about his “series of tubes” comment on the floor of the Senate, check out the Wikipedia article on the event, complete with audio clips. It’s classic.

3 replies on “Senator Dorgan Introduces Net Neutrality Bill to the Senate”

While I agree that Senator Stevens needs a tutorial on the internet(s), I wouldn’t call Senator Dorgan an expert by any stretch of the imagination. He reeled off the talking points in his YouTube video about the legislation, but likely doesn’t understand all the issues involved.

In the spirit of full disclosure, I work with the Hands Off the Internet coalition in opposing net neutrality regulations. They are unnecessary and would severely restrict innovation not preserve it.

As one of the chairman of my coalition noted,

“As Democrats and Republicans recognized, these proposed neutrality regulations essentially create a legal loophole for large content companies such as Google, eBay and Amazon to avoid paying for the online bandwidth they use. These regulations are completely unwarranted and would ultimately force consumers to pay an increasing percentage of the huge cost to upgrade America’s vital communications networks.”

HOTI: Sorry, but I don’t buy your arguments. Customers and large companies are already paying for the bandwidth they use. You’re suggesting that companies pay twice, and I don’t see how that fosters innovation…

For everyone else, HOTI (Hands Off the Internet), is a cleverly named front group for a bunch of telecommunications corporations and other groups, including the following:

  • AT&T
  • BellSouth
  • Cingular

HOTI’s ads and marketing materials feel like they’re part of some grassroots effort, but they’re really being paid for by a consortium of very well funded organizations. Common Cause has some background info for you…

Wow, didn’t realize that. Didn’t study up on it much either. Avoid paying??? How? I don’t buy it either.

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