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Feds tell (other) feds to kill net neutrality

Justice Department sides with AT&T, Verizon

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The US Department of Justice is badmouthing net neutrality.

In a recent filing with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), the Justice Department said that certain net neutrality efforts could "prevent, rather than promote, optimal investment and innovation in the Internet, with significant negative effects for the economy and consumers."

In the other words, the DoJ has no problem with AT&T and Verizon charging extra for certain types of online content.

"Consumers and the economy are benefiting from the innovative and dynamic nature of the Internet," said Thomas O. Barnett, Assistant Attorney General in charge of the department's antitrust division. "Regulators should be careful not to impose regulations that could limit consumer choice and investment in broadband facilities."

When he says regulators, he means the FCC. This is a case of the feds telling the feds what to do. More feds weighed in this summer.

The FCC is tracking an ongoing debate between net service providers and big-name content providers like Google and Yahoo! The Googles and the Yahoo!s are calling for "net neutrality" regulations that would prevent the AT&Ts and the Verizons from building a "tiered" internet - a place where they can demand more dough when delivering certain stuff.

Last year, as the FCC approved AT&T's merger with BellSouth, the communications giant agreed to maintain net neutrality on its high-speed traffic for two years. The clock is ticking. ®

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