Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Is "net neutrality" a good thing?

The University of Minnesota thinks so.

Telecommunications and "Net Neutrality"

Congress has begun debate on yet another omnibus telecommunications policy bill. One issue that has caught the interest of the higher education community is that of "net neutrality." Specifically, whether owners of broadband networks should be able to sell preferential treatment or access to enhanced levels of service.

The principle of net neutrality requires telephone and cable companies to operate their high-speed networks in a nondiscriminatory manner that gives equal treatment to similar types of Internet traffic. Net neutrality is important to universities in delivering multimedia instructional materials and in developing next-generation, Internet-based technologies.

A number of different proposals are circulating in both the House and Senate. The Association of American Universities (AAU) has been following the debate closely. Like AAU and most other universities, the University of Minnesota strongly believes that Congress should require broadband carriers to operate open platforms and not create tiers of service and accessibility.

An AAU letter on this topic is available on line at http://www.aau.edu/intellect/Ltr_Barton_Dingell_3-29-06.pdf

This is from the University of Minnesota: Federal Relations website.

So, the U. is in favor of net neutrality. How is the Minnesota Congressional delegation doing on this one? Well, all of the Democrats in the House voted for net neutrality; every Republican voted against it. That's Gil Gutknecht, John Kline, Spot's representative Jimbo Ramstad, and Mark "the winds of change" Kennedy, who of course wants to be a Senator.

How about the Senate, Spotty?

I'm glad you asked, grasshopper. As of a few days ago, anyway, Josh Marshall reported that both Senators Coleman and Dayton had their fingers in the wind. You know what to do, boys and girls.

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