Thursday, June 08, 2006

Internet Freedom and Nondiscrimination Act of 2006

A practical definition of “network neutrality” is the principle that Internet Service Providers should not discriminate based on different kinds of Internet content.
Wikipedia’s definition is “the ideal that network designs and operators show not discriminate between network applications.”

This bill is being debated as Internet Freedom and Nondiscrimination Act of 2006 (Introduced in House)
HR 5417 IH
Congress voted against a version of this bill on April 27, 2006

(may require a Post subscription)
In the Senate, the bill is S 2917, the Internet Freedom Preservation Act.

According to some sources, Apparently an older version of this law expired in June 2005, and there is concern over how cable and communications companies may "behave" without statutory requirements for neutrality.

Some ads say that the F.C.C. still enforces network neutrality, and the new bills would give it the force of law. Other sources say there are new bills that would eliminate network neutrality. I will try to get the exact legal facts. Anyone who would like to quote the exact facts is welcome to do so here in the comments.

An earlier Washington Post article by Christopher Stern, "The Coming Tug of War over the Internet," Jan. 22, 2006, indicates that the FCC informally has "enforced" neutrality, particularly when approving telecommunications mergers. Apparently it is the codification of this enforcement preference into law that is at issue.

Jeffrey H. Birbbaum has a "K Street Confidential" editorial on the subject that poses net neutrality as simply whether telephone and cable companies should be able to charge other large users for add-ons to make those users more efficient. That is, should it charge Google for preferred access from Google's server farms. The article is "No Neutral Ground in the Internet Battle" at

Update: Jan 25, 2008

This bill (HR5417) never became law. Govtrack reference

Same for S 2917 Reference.

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