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March 22, 2006, 8:18 pm
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Internet Companies Wage War of Words With Carriers
February 8, 2006
By Roy Mark
Courtesy of Internetnews.com.
WASHINGTON -- The cable and telephone industries again insisted Tuesday they
have no plans or intentions to block either Internet content or applications
over their high-speed broadband networks.
That contention sparked a sharp war of words between Internet companies and
the carriers that provide the bandwidth for their services.
Testifying before the Senate Commerce Committee, the heads of the National
Cable and Telecommunications Association (NCTA) and the United States
Telecom Association (USTA) emphatically insisted no new laws are necessary
to ensure broadband customers access to all legal content on the Internet.
They did, however, admit they want additional fees from high bandwidth
content and application providers to access consumers through their pipes.
The proposal has prompted hand wringing among Internet companies and
consumer advocates alike that the cable and telephone industries, which
control 98 percent of the U.S. broadband market, will make private deals
that favor one content provider over another.
Lawmakers, in turn, are considering revising the 1996 Telecommunications Act
to ensure a principle known as net neutrality where the providers of
Internet service are obligated to make their networks available to all legal
content and applications in a non-discriminatory manner.