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Caucus Backs Net Neutrality

The Caucus for Television Producers, Writers and Directors wants strong network neutrality language in national video franchising legislation working its way through the House and Senate.

A version of the bill that passed the House last week lacked the strong language media activists and Democrats sought.

In a letter to House and Senate members, the caucus said that without language explicitly prohibiting networks from discrinination in Internet service, the 'net could face the same fate as radio and television, which they said was a handful of companies producing, promoting, owning, and controlling virtually everything Americans watch and hear."

If networks are allowed to control both production and distribution, they argue, "the internet may no longer be an open field of opportunity for innovators, writers, creators, and entrepreneurs."The Senate is expected to include network neutrality language in its version of the bill, which will be marked up in the next several weeks.

The House version gives the FCC the power to adjudicate complains of Internet discrinimation, but it is not empowered to create rules defining and proscribing it.