The telecom and cable industry's top pressure groups are lobbying against H.R. 1644, the "Save the Internet Act of 2019." That bill, introduced in March, aims to reinstate the network neutrality rules that were reversed by the FCC under President Donald Trump's administration. The House will vote on the bill Wednesday.
The collection of telecom and mobile industry lobbyists aren't having it. If the behavior of telcos is regulated, then consumers will suffer by way of "reduced innovation and slower economic growth," according to a letter sent to Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the House of Representatives, and other House members on Tuesday.
The letter, jointly signed by USTelecom, CTIA and the NCTA, said that the nation's broadband providers are "committed to net neutrality, requiring transparency in our network practices, and establishing enforceable protections against data blocking, throttling or anti-competitive paid prioritization arrangements."
Why this matters
The telecom companies that provide most of the nation's broadband services were formed out of regional monopolies, and those firms remain the choke points of innovation in the modern Internet. Any service or application they deem bad for their business can be blocked, degraded or messed with, and some amount of regulation provides legal recourse for those actions.
That said, the idea behind network neutrality -- treating all traffic equally -- doesn't work, in practice. There needs to be some level of prioritization for carriers to make money, provide different service classes and properly route emergency and critical data on a contested resource to its end destination. To date, lawmakers have simply retrofitted old regulations to fit new technologies and competitive dynamics.
In this instance, not much will change as the Senate and White House have already indicated that neither will stand for legislation that tells their telecom donors and political contributors what to do.
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