No action needed now on Net neutrality-FCC chief Wed Dec 14, 2005 5:25 PM ET http://today.reuters.com/investing/financeArticle.aspx?type=governmentFiling sNews&storyID=URI:urn:newsml:reuters.com:20051214:MTFH69691_2005-12-14_22-25 -22_N14302230:1
WASHINGTON, Dec 14 (Reuters) - There is no immediate need for the U.S. Federal Communications Commission to adopt rules protecting consumers' ability to surf anywhere on the Internet, the agency's chairman Kevin Martin said on Wednesday. Concerns have been raised by lawmakers and content companies about Internet providers like cable or telephone companies blocking customers from surfing sites in favor of preferred content or services, but Martin said there have not been widespread complaints so far "I'm hesitant to adopt rules that would prevent anti-competitive behavior where there hasn't been significant evidence of a problem," Martin said at a conference luncheon by Comptel, a group representing competitive telephone carriers. "That doesn't mean people don't have a lot of concern about potential problems, but there's a significant difference between potential problems and problems that occur," he said. Cable and telephone companies like Comcast Corp. (CMCSA.O: Quote, Profile, Research) and AT&T Inc. (T.N: Quote, Profile, Research) are aggressively marketing high-speed Internet service, leading some consumer advocates and technology companies like Amazon.com Inc. (AMZN.O: Quote, Profile, Research) to worry that their content or services could be blocked. The Internet providers have said they have no intention of blocking where consumers surf, but lawmakers are still weighing whether to legislate a "net neutrality" mandate that would codify that principle. The FCC earlier this year adopted principles on Internet content access but there was no enforcement mechanism. Still, AT&T and Verizon Communications (VZ.N: Quote, Profile, Research) recently agreed to adhere to those principles for the next two years as part of a compromise with the agency to get regulators to approve their big acquisitions. AT&T Chairman and Chief Executive Ed Whitacre set off a furor when he indicated in a recent Business Week magazine interview that he would want content providers to pay for access to his customers. Company officials have since clarified that he was referring to AT&T's private network over which it plans to offer its new television service, and did not mean the traditional high-speed Internet service the company offers. In one incident earlier this year, a small rural telephone company briefly blocked Internet telephone calls that used Vonage Holdings Corp.'s low-cost service. The FCC intervened to end that fight. You are a subscribed member of the infowarrior list. Visit www.infowarrior.org for list information or to unsubscribe. This message may be redistributed freely in its entirety. Any and all copyrights appearing in list messages are maintained by their respective owners.