The House Commerce Committee voted 34-22 Wednesday not to adopt an amendment toughening network neutrality provisions in the House national video franchising bill.
Rep. Ed Markey (D-Mass.), who spearheaded the amendment, had argued that without the amendment, the bill would spell the "end of the Internet as we know it," allowing telephone companies to discriminate in Internet service and fundamentally change the character of the Internet.
He and others warned during mark-up of the bill Wednesday that there would be backlash from constituents. Chairman Joe Barton strongly opposed the amendment, saying the bill already contained sufficient protections for Internet access--through FCC adjudicatory powers--and that anything more specific would be unecessarily preemptive.
Net neutrality backer Media Access Project was not surprised, but saw hopeful signs for adding net neutrality in the Senate version of the bill, buoyed by the lrecent obbying blitz by 'neutrality' forces.
"This outcome was expected," said MAP President Andrew Schwartzman, "but we are somewhat surprised - and encouraged - by the progress that net neutrality advocates have made in the last few weeks.
"A broad-based industry and citizen coalition supporting net neutrality is rapidly gaining steam. Prospects in the Senate are looking better and better."Savetheinternet.com, one of the groups that had just coalesced around the issue, called the vote a sell-out and vowed to "continue rallying public support for Internet freedom as the legislation moves to the full House and Senate."