House panel explores Net neutrality antitrust law

[IDG] Congress may need to amend antitrust law to keep broadband providers from interfering with Internet traffic, the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee said today.Lawmakers may consider resurrecting legislation similar to a bill that failed in 2006, but which would have made it an antitrust violation for broadband providers to block or impair competing Web-based content and applications, said U.S. Rep. John Conyers, a Michigan Democrat and the committee chairman. Christians, Rockers and Pro-Choicers Testify for Net Neutrality
Net neutrality “is a complicated subject, and almost any member of Congress who privately discusses it in a serious way concludes that it would be better not to implement regulations unless absolutely necessary,” said Roger Cochetti, group director of U.S. public policy at CompTIA.The House Judiciary Committee held a panel hearing on the issue of net neutrality Tuesday, hearing testimony from such diverse interests as a rock band, an abortion rights advocacy group and the Christian Coalition of America. The unlikely trio converged on the Hill to call for legislation that would ensure that cable and telco Internet service providers do not dole out broadband — or restrict its use — for political reasons.Chairman John Conyers, D-Mich., said legislation was needed to codify net neutrality into law.”Congress must act now,” he said at the end of his opening statement. Politicos make new push for Net neutrality policing
An influential congressional committee is once again showing support for using U.S. antitrust laws to force broadband providers to treat network traffic in a nondiscriminatory manner.Under Republican control in 2006, a U.S. House of Representatives panel threw its support behind a bill rewriting antitrust law in a way that would have embedded “Net neutrality” obligations. That proposal, however, never ultimately went any further toward becoming law, and has not been reintroduced.

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