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Politics & Technology Policy – Together Again

Now that the dust is settling on the election, one big question remains – what does this mean for legislation. I’ve spent a lot of time talking about Net Neutrality over the past year. It’s been a big burr in my saddle (sorry for the cowboy colloquialisms, but I spent the last few days hunting deer in New Mexico and am having trouble shaking it off).

The flip of Congress from Repub to Dem control should make Net Neut a hot issue again.

The Dems, who had supported a much stronger net neutrality provision in both the House and Senate versions of the telecom reform legislation, were stopped short by the Republicans who – in a brief flash of respect for their small government roots – opposed expanding the role of government on the Net.

Now that the Dems appear poised to take the reins of both houses, the possibility of the Senate passing the telecom package in a lame duck session is dead. It’s likely Congress will reconvene in a week, pass a CR and split town for the year. What happens in January is anyone’s guess.

I suspect we’ll see a new and improved Net Neut bill early next year for one simple reason – the Democrats owe the bloggers. The left wing blogosphere has been hopped up like a monkey on crack over three things this year – winning control, the Iraq War and passing NN legislation. I suspect the Democrats in Congress will move a bill as a way to say thanks.

They won’t say that, of course. They’ll couch it in terms of consumer protection, despite the fact that no consumer – as of yet – has actually been impacted by anything the bill seeks to address. It’s likely the content giants on the pro-NN side (Google, Yahoo, etc.) will start doling out large checks almost immediately to win passage.

One thing is almost certain, the era of big government has probably just arrived on the Net.

(Disclaimer: While I work for the National Cable and Telecommunications Association, this post should in no way be construed as an official position of the Association. Thoughts in this space are mine and mine alone and do not reflect the views of my employer.)

Written by Michael Turk