Conyers May Propose Net Neutrality Legislation

At a House Judiciary Committee hearing on Tuesday, Committee Chair Rep. John Conyers said that net neutrality must be preserved, and stated that he is willing to propose legislation to do so. “I am concerned that if Congress stands by and does nothing, we will soon find ourselves living in a world where those who pay, can play (on the Internet), but those who don’t are simply out of luck,” Conyers said.

During his opening statement, he described an Internet that is under siege. “However, some of the Internet Service Providers, which control 96% of the residential market for high-speed Internet access, and are either monopolies or duopolies in most areas of the country, have proposed to give favored treatment to some Internet content and disfavored treatment to other content. Under these proposed business models, what treatment you get will be determined by how much you pay or, potentially, whether the Internet Service Provider approves of the content you are sending over their pipes or, perhaps, has a financial interest…To be sure, if we go in this direction, it will stifle future innovation on the Internet.”

Conyers said Congress may have to act because the ISPs pay to play idea could inhibit the growth of the Internet. He believes that anti-trust legislation is the best way to deal with this problem. “I believe that antitrust law is the most appropriate way to deal with this problem – and antitrust law is not regulation. It exists to correct distortions of the free market, where monopolies or cartels have cornered the market, and competition is not being allowed to work. The antitrust laws can help maintain a free and open Internet.”

Look, the ISPs don’t care about fairness. The plan they are advancing would do nothing but increase their profits. Pay to play would lead to an Internet that is dominated by the big boys. There would be no more YouTube like success stories. Innovation would have to come from the top, or not at all. Most Republicans see no problem with the ISPs plan. They say that the plan is nothing more than capitalism and the free market coming to the Internet. Equality is what makes the Internet special. If this is ever taken away, the corporate concentration and stifling of ideas that has swallowed up television and radio will also devour the Web.

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