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


Tuesday, November 28, 2006

What's next for Net Neutrality?

The Democrats might be taking over, but that's no guarantee of a squeaky-clean Congress (witness Nancy Pelosi's unfortunate campaigns for Jack Murtha and Alcee Hastings)-- corporate money will still be widely available, and there are plenty of Dems who love it, too.

That said, while the outlook is better than it was a few weeks ago, it's still going to be a fight. The telecoms certainly will be changing their tactics, but not their objective.

Remember, the Bells still have a lot of friends and a lot of votes in Congress, whether on Net Neutrality or not. There are many legislators of both parties, on the relevant committees or not, who will vote the Bell line regardless. Net Neutrality isn’t a slam dunk. The key will be how much the Bells will be willing to deal. They didn’t feel the need in the last session of Congress. Now, with the leadership against them, they may have a different calculus, of trying to get the best bill they can.

By now, the Bells have realized how important Net Neutrality is to a great many people and organizations, ranging from large companies like Google and Yahoo, to public interest groups like Public Knowledge (my day-job employer), something they probably didn’t count on this year. If they try in good faith to negotiate a reasonable Net Neutrality provision next year, the Bells could gain some of their goals despite themselves.

It isn't stellar reading, but keeping the issue in mind can't hurt.