Thursday, November 10, 2011

Net neutrality issue continues to expose the wide political divide; Senate votes down move to limit FCC role

With much of the media's attention focused on the European debt crisis, the Rick Perry debate fiasco, or the scandal at PSU, today's vote in the Senate on net neutrality has gotten little attention.

S.J. Res 6 ("Disapproval of Federal Communications Commission Rule Regulating the Internet and Broadband Industry Practices") was voted down this afternoon 46 to 52. The resolution was an attempt to prevent the FCC's order that promoted net neutrality from taking effect on November 20.

The issue of net neutrality, one would think, would cross the ideological divide simply because the concept is to keep the Internet free from control. But so powerful is the concept that government should not interfere in business, even when it involves something like the government created Internet, that all Republicans voted for the resolution, while all Democrats voted against it (one Democrat, Dan Inouye (D-HI) and one Republican, John McCain (R-AZ), did not vote).

Andrew Breitbart's Big Government ran a column today before the vote calling the FCC position "an egregious overreach".

On the other hand, the reaction from other quarters was one of relief that the FCC rules will now be implemented. The website District Dispatch from the Washington Office of the American Library Association praised the vote result.

"The defeat of the bill sends a clear message that libraries and those they serve (the public) not only care strongly about this issue but also depend upon a free and open internet to provide unfettered access to all types of information," wrote Corey Williams, Association Director, Office of Government Relations for the ALA.

It appears that the issue net neutrality is, and will remain, a political football.