Rep. Edward Markey (D-MA) plans to introduce legislation in December to set the stage for congressional debate in 2008 on the ability of telecommunications companies to restrict content carried over their wireline and wireless high-speed Internet networks. His network neutrality measure would be part of a multi-pronged effort to shift the issue back into the spotlight. It is expected to include hearings in both chambers. Watchdog groups are urging Senate Commerce Committee Chairman Daniel Inouye (D-Hawaii) and House Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers (D-MI) to convene January hearings on recent allegations of discriminatory online practices. Spokesmen for both panels did not have any comment. The House Commerce Telecommunications and the Internet Subcommittee that Rep Markey heads already plans to hold additional sessions on the topic next year. The legislative push is being fueled by recent flare-ups over net neutrality involving AT&T, Comcast and Verizon Communications, sources said. They noted that the online activist group is urging Markey to revive the issue so it resonates more loudly on the presidential campaign trail.

[SOURCE: National Journal, AUTHOR: David Hatch]

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