The Daily Sandwich

"We have to learn the lesson that intellectual honesty is fundamental for everything we cherish." -Sir Karl Popper

Location: Boston, Massachusetts, United States


Saturday, June 10, 2006

House Dems vote against(!) Net Neutrality

The issue of Net Neutrality is described in the article as follows:

The Markey amendment would have prevented broadband providers from rigging their services to create two-tier access to the Internet – with an "information superhighway" for sites that pay fees for preferential treatment and a dirt road for sites that cannot pay the toll.

It's an ugly little piece of corporatist legislation that would mean a windfall for telecoms, more market share for already big companies, and a Net environment that would reduce competition and limit speech. As you might expect, no-one but the telecoms wants it. And it isn't just liberals who oppose it. Libertarians, the Christian Coalition and a gun advocacy group are all on board favoring Net Neutrality.

But the people who cut large checks to politicians want it bad, and it's no surprise that Republicans voted 215-8 to kill neutrality. What's harder to believe is that House Democrats voted 106-92 to kill it as well. The bill would make the Internet more expensive and less democratic, and it passed by a margin of more than three to one. What the hell is going on?

It probably won't ever register as a big issue during the elections, but it would provide Democrats with a chance to reach out to groups seen as hardline Republicans. Oh, and it's also the right thing to do, since it would affect every Internet user in the country. The Senate is the last hope for that happening. I know where my senators stand on the issue, but I'd recommend you start writing those letters, folks. Trying to stave off the Gilded Age policies of the Republican party is an exhausting fight, but we've still got a long way to go.