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House subcommittee votes to kill net neutrality

Grant Gross | March 9, 2011
A House subcommittee votes to kill net neutrality rules.

Democrats tried to offer seven amendments to the resolution, but Walden struck them all down. Republicans introduced the resolution under the little-used Congressional Review Act, a streamlined legislative process that makes it difficult to make amendments.

While Cicconi said AT&T can live with the net neutrality rules, Verizon Communications (VZ) and mobile provider MetroPCS Wireless have filed court challenges. The rules would hurt wireless Internet service providers (WISPs) that don't have the bandwidth to deliver high-definition video and other bandwidth-intensive services, said Tom DeReggi, president of RapidDSL and Wireless, a Maryland broadband provider.

DeReggi told lawmakers he may want to block services like Netflix because they take up too much bandwidth for WiMax-based broadband. The FCC rules unfairly create the same rules for WISPs that they do for fiber-based broadband providers, he said.

"One size does not work and does not fit all," DeReggi said.

Many of his customers operate home-based businesses, but services like Netflix compromise those businesses, DeReggi said. "You block the source of the problem," he said. "Broadband provides jobs, not HD video."

Eshoo disagreed, saying Neflix has created hundreds of jobs in recent years.

But net neutrality rules will hurt both broadband providers and Web application providers, by discouraging network investment, said Anna-Maria Kovacs, an investment analyst with Strategic Choices. "Far more devastating to Google (GOOG), Skype and Netflix than being charged for transport is an Internet whose evolution and capacity are flash-frozen for lack of investment," she said. "Their innovative applications can only follow a step behind the network's capacity and quality."

 

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