By a more than three-to-one margin (321 to 101), the House of Representatives on Thursday passed telecommunications legislation that for the most part corresponds with the agenda of the largest telephone companies, writes the New York Times. Lawmakers also rejected, 269 to 152, a Democrat-backed amendment to ensure Net neutrality. That is, the legislation would not prevent phone and cable companies from charging internet content providers more for carrying services that might compete with the telco's own services, such as online video.
The legislation pit the telcos against an alliance that included unlikely partners Google and Microsoft. Supporters of the legislation said it would promote competition and lower costs because phone companies would be able to offer bundled video, telephone, broadband, wireless and mobile phone services.
The legislation would replace the regulatory role of 30,000+ local franchising authorities with a national system supervised by the Federal Communications Commission.
It's now the Senate's turn to consider, but there's little time in the legislative calendar for a major telecommunications bill to pass, and for the two chambers to work out their differences.