Black Legislators Back Light Regulatory Touch


With prospects dimming for national video franchise reform legislation anytime soon, the battle over the issue of network neutrality continues on the state level.

In Michigan for example, the legislature has been debating the network neutrality issue, among others, as it considers telecommunications reform legislation there.

Now, fresh troops have been supplied on that front to telcos and others who oppose laws limiting business practices that big computer companies say could create a discriminatory Internet regime controlled by big networks, and networks say would allow them to manage their networks more effectively and efficiently and monetize their investment in the national broadband roll-out.

The troops come in the form of The National Black Caucus of State Legislators, which has come out against "mandated network neutrality," arguing that it would "impede future capital investments in the U.S. broadband infrastructure."

The legislators argue that the FCC's principles outlining basic internet access freedoms are sufficient safeguards and are preferable to giving the FCC the power to "proactively intervene" in the broadband Internet marketplace.

They are also concerned that tough net neutrality laws would slow the roll-out of broadband and raise cost to the end user, exacerbating a digital divide that that impacts the minority community.

NBCSL made its feelings known in a resolution adopted at its annual meeting in Jackson, Miss., over the weekend and being sent to the White House.

Telcos Verizon and AT&T are both financial supporters of the caucus and sit on its corporate roundtable. "This is just another case of pay as you go lobbying," said net neutrality supporter Jeffrey Chester of the Center for Digital Democracy.