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House Committee To Hold Hearing On Net Neutrality Bill

House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Joe Barton, a Republican from Texas, defended his decision to include limited checks on Net Neutrality in the newest version of the much-anticipated bill. Barton said he wasn't convinced of the necessity of a Net Neutrality law, believing that the market should sort itself out. Today, the House Committee plans to hold a hearing on the bill, with a 14-member witness list that includes representatives from cable and telecommunications trade associations, consumer advocacy groups, and Internet firms like Amazon and Vonage. Telco companies believe they should have the right to create a tiered Internet system that would require sites demanding a significant amount of bandwidth to pay network operators for the extra space. Internet advocates argue that plans for a "fast lane" pose a threat to the Internet's open architecture, and could elevate prices for consumers. Barton dismissed these concerns, saying, "If I'm a Yahoo or an Amazon.com and I'm investing hundreds of millions of dollars into my service, I'm willing to invest 10 cents a video to get it to my customers." He added that the committee's proposal defers authority to the Federal Communications Commission to enforce its own set of broadband principles, which were outlined last August. The committee hopes to move toward a vote on the measure next week.

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