Net Neutrality Back on Congressional Calendar
Senator Byron Dorgan, D-ND, tells Reuters that he plans to introduce a bill in January to enshrine Net Neutrality into law. This will come two years after a previously attempted Net Neutrality bill, introduced by . . . huh, Sen. Byron Dorgan. What a coincidence.
In the intervening two years, however, many regulatory rulings have come down on the issue of Net Neutrality. For example, back in April, the FCC insisted that they already have the authority to enforce Net Neutrality, and later ordered Comcast to stop impeding its users’ traffic. Dorgan, however, believes this is not enough:
Sen. Byron Dorgan, a North Dakota Democrat, believes a law is essential to prevent telephone and cable companies from discriminating against Internet content, even though regulators have taken actions to enforce free Web principles, a top Dorgan aide said on Thursday.
As Comcast is fighting the FCC’s ruling in court, a federal law may be necessary. On the other hand, if a federal law is overturned by the Supreme Court, the only way to enshrine the principle of Net Neutrality into law is to amend the Constitution—not an easy task.
AT&T’s EVP for regulatory affairs, Jim Cicconi, however, says that the FCC’s authority is already sufficient:
The current (FCC) principles already deal with unreasonable discrimination.
Cicconi also pointed out that, barring that, basic market principles also work in favor of Net Neutrality:
The public would not pay for its Internet services if AT&T discriminated against content, he added. “We’d be shooting ourselves in the foot.”
What do you think? Between the FCC rulings and the basic market principles, is a federal Net Neutrality law really necessary?