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Don't Be Duped By Net Neutrality, Say Senators - Broadcasting & Cable

Don't Be Duped By Net Neutrality, Say Senators

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A pair of senators have sent a letter to their colleagues warning them not to be "duped" by advocates of network neutrality.

Two Republican senators, Sam Brownback of Kansas and Jim DeMint of South Carolina, argue, among other things, that networks need to be free of regulation to spend the billions it will take to develop next-generation broadband, including technologies that help parents control their children's surfing.

Both legislators have pushed for greater government control of media content, with Brownback sponsoring the Senate bill upping FCC indecency fines.

What the pair see as the "heavy hand of regulation," network neutrality backers argue is insuring that those same networks aren't allowed to discriminate in the provision of Internet service and create an Internet toll road where the biggest pockets get the most bandwidth and the garage innovators can't afford the price of admission.

The Senate Thursday will hold its first hearing on a telecom reform bill that will ease the way for telcos and other multiservice network providers--video, voice, data, Internet--to more easily compete with cable and satellite. That bill does not contain strong network neutrality provisions, instead requiring the FCC to investigate the issue.

But lobbying on both sides of the issue has been fast and furious, and the senators wanted to get their two cents in.

A House version of the bill has slightly stronger network neutrality language, but not strong enough for open Internet backers.

For what it is worth, Brownback ranked 37 on congress.org's recently realeased congressional power list, which is their gauge of effectiveness in passing or affecting legislation. DeMint ranked last.

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