CompTIA Says Maine Net Neutrality Bill Would Dumb Down Internet - InformationWeek

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5/15/2007
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CompTIA Says Maine Net Neutrality Bill Would Dumb Down Internet

CompTIA warns that a state bill would "heavily regulate innovative broadband services and keep computing technology companies, as well as Internet users, in the dark ages."

A computing industry trade group warns that a bill in the Maine legislature would leave the state's citizens with a "dumb, slower" Internet.

The Computing Technology Trade Industry Association (CompTIA) has urged its members to send a letter stating that the bill, LD 1675, would stall innovation of broadband services, stifle VoIP and IPTV development. The bill would prohibit Internet service providers from prioritizing access based on content or source.

FreePress supports the bill, entitled "An Act To Protect Network Neutrality."

"Absent net neutrality laws, there is nothing stopping Internet providers from blocking content from Web sites that have opposing points of view or offer competing services," network neutrality supporters said in a statement on the site.

CompTIA warns that the bill would "heavily regulate innovative broadband services and keep computing technology companies, as well as Internet users, in the dark ages." The group is lobbying legislators to vote against the bill.

"No ISP, large or small, will make risky investments in next generation Internet technology when they cannot control or benefit from that investment," the group warned in a letter it has encouraged its members to sign. "LD 1675 throws those legitimate expectations out the door. Keeping the Internet unregulated means the roll-out of more new technology for Maine, not less. It will allow more voices to be heard, not fewer."

The issue has made strange bedfellows.

Groups like the American Civil Liberties Union, a New York City advocacy group for AIDS victims, the homeless, people with mental illnesses and addictions, the Feminist Majority, Gun Owners of America, MoveOn.org, the Christian Coalition, unions, gamers and bloggers have joined to fight for what they call net neutrality, or non-discriminatory Internet provisions, in federal and state laws.

The issue has also split the computing and IT world, with manufacturers, telecommunications and cable providers and hardware companies saying the market should dictate how traffic moves on the Web and how services are priced. On the other hand, several Internet service providers have called for government regulation.

The issue has also heated up again in Congress, which made history with a related hearing last week. U.S. Rep. Ed Markey filmed the first YouTube video from a congressional chairman's seat. Markey, who chairs the House Subcommittee on Telecommunications and the Internet, recorded and uploaded the "Hearing on the Digital Future of the U.S.: the Future of Video."

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