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Will Chairman Markey allow "competition" of views on future of the Internet policy?

House Telecom Subcommittee Chairman Ed Markey (D-MA) said in the Boston Globe today  that Sir Tim Berners-Lee, inventor of the World Wide Web, will testify on "the future of the Internet" on Thursday.

  • Sir Berners-Lee is a strong supporter of Chairman Markey's highly-regulatory approach to Net Neutrality.
  • It also sounds like Sir Berners-Lee will be the only witness at this important initial hearing on this important issue.

The open question is: will Chairman Markey allow free and open "competition" of views on what is best for "the future of the Internet" in the best of the "open democratic tradition of the Internet?" 

Why is this question relevant?

  1. The topic of the future of the Internet is certainly important enough to not "monopolize" the hearing with the views of only one side on net neutrality.
  • Even a "duopoly of competing views" would be better than no choice.
  • What about hearing from someone like Robert Kahn, one of the "co-fathers of the Internet" whose joint invention of TCP-IP protocol enabled Sir Berners-Lee's wonderful invention many years later.
    • Would it not be instructive to hear a different point of view from one of the Internet Greats who is not enamored with Chairman Markey's net neutrality legislation?  
  • Chairman Markey was quoted in today's Boston Globe: "Now for the first time I have the gavel again, I plan to highlight competition."  
    • It will be instructive to see if the House Telecom Subcommittee operates itself in the same open, democratic, and competitive manner it expects from the Internet.
  • Chairman Markey's net neutrality bill from last year that failed in the House 269-152 says in section 2(13):
    • "Because of the vital role that broadband networks and the Internet play for America's economic growth and our First Amendment rights to speak, the United States should adopt a clear policy endorsing the open nature of Internet communications and freely accessible broadband networks." 
    • In the tradition of the First Amendment, the democratic Internet, and House rules which allow for hearing the Minority's witnesses -- a voice different from Sir Berners-Lee would be good for democracy and the future of the Internet.
  • The new Democratic majority alos publicly pledged to run the House fairly and ethically.
  • In sum, I can understand how adding a second witness that has different views on net neutrality from the Chairman could be viewed by net neutrality proponents as giving aid and comfort to a "two-tiered" discussion of the Internet.

    • Hopefully the newly installed Democratic Majority on the Hill will not set a precedent of "blocking, degrading, or impairing" the first Amendment Rights of Americans who have a different view on Net neutrality than the current powers at be.
    • The extent of openess and democracy in this first hearing on the future of the Internet will speak volumes about the future of the net neutrality debate.