Federal Lawmakers to Meet on Oct. 22 to Discuss Net Neutrality

Bob Preston
WASHINGTON — Net neutrality will get its shot on Oct. 22.

U.S. lawmakers will formally propose a new set of net neutrality regulations during the third week in October at a meeting that will include FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski.

Advance word holds that the five-member panel will vote 3-2 in favor of new Internet regulations that would ensure the free flow of information online.

Net neutrality advocates argue that ISPs must be forced to provide users with access to all of the Internet without a tiered price structure that would favor only the biggest, wealthiest websites.

In addition, Chairman Genachowski said that the new rules would stop online operators from discriminating against any competing Internet applications. That means that companies like AT&T would no longer be able to prevent users from using competing voice services, such as those offered by Skype, Google or eBay.

Naturally, these rules have sparked protest from those big companies. Both AT&T and Verizon have complained about the proposed rules. AT&T argued that the wireless market's competitive nature is enough to protect consumer interests, and that opening up the networks to a free-for-all would cause untenable network strains.

Against the backdrop of this controversy is a feud between tech giants AT&T and Google. AT&T accused Google of hypocrisy because Google blocks certain phone calls made through its Google Voice mobile application.

On the flip side, AT&T has been the subject of widespread criticism alongside its partner, Apple, because of Apple's ban on the Google Voice app from Apple's App Store.

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