Why “Anti Discrimination” & “Build Out” Matter More Than “Net Neutrality”

(crossposted from April 27, 2006)

Broadcasting and Cable's John Eggerton writes

"Not included in the bill are voted-down amendments that would have held national video franchisees to a build-out schedule and toughened prohibitions on red-lining–building out more attractive parts of a franchise and bypassing ones with less potential return on investment or, as Ed Markey (D-MA) puts it, 'the other side of the tracks.' Still the bill as passed has language that requires telephone companies getting into video service to eventually serve all of a franchise, rather than allowing them to choose which parts of an area to offer service to, as the bill passed out of the Telecommunications Subcommittee allowed. That anti-redlining addition sat well with the cable industry, which had been pushing for it, but was not enough for Rep Markey and others who wanted build-out requirements as well."

SaveAccess.org writes:

"Among the casualties today were these amendments;

1) Anti-Discrimination Amendment

An amendment to a national video franchising bill that would prevent discrimination of service based on race, religion, sex, or national origin. The amendment was defeated 29-23.

2) Build-Out Amendment (Red-lining)
An amendment that would have set build-out requirements for new franchisees under a national video franchise scheme being considered by Congress. Defeated 29-22, introduced by Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.)
A weaker amendment passed, but since it set no timetable provisions concerning 'build-out', it will be nearly impossible to enforce – nice planning!"

What good is net neutrality without net service? These laws are not just about the Internet, they are about voice, video, and the Internet.

At Comcast, "Digital Cable, High-Speed Internet, Comcast Digital Voice."

At Verizon, "Phone, Internet, TV"

At Time Warner Cable, "Cable, High Speed Online, Digital Phone"

At AT&T/SBC, "Voice, Internet, Digital Satellite TV"

This legislation allows the largest voice, video, and Internet companies to serve only the communities of their choosing–the ones that will bring the most profits. What about everyone else?

This issue is not about network neutrality. It's about non-network discrimination.

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