Defeat of Net Neutrality Amendment Isn’t a Disaster

On April 3, the U.S. House of Representatives defeated an amendment that would have imposed "net neutrality" restrictions on ISPs and telcos. The defeat has spawned howls of protest from various quarters, but the situation isn't as bad as some make out.

The amendment sought to prevent ISPs and telcos from prioritizing some traffic over others. The fear is that, say, AT&T would cause Skype or Vonage traffic to suffer a poorer class of service than that enjoyed by its own VoIP service.

However, there's a revised bill on its way that seems to have broader political support. This bill would give the FCC oversight of net neutrality. That would essentially put the onus on rulemaking, as opposed to lawmaking. This is a much smarter idea -- trying to successfully legislate such a complex area is likely to be impossible. The FCC rulemaking process is nimbler, as we've seen with the rules spawned by CAN-SPAM.

... Richi Jennings

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