Jillian Bandes

The 18 Republican Senators had even stronger words in their letter to the FCC. "When the government picks winners and losers in the marketplace, the incentive to invest disappears…we fear that the proposals you announced ... will be counterproductive and risk harming the great advancements in broadband speed and deployment,” they wrote.

In the absence of formal rules, the FCC already does enforce some internet regulations of bandwidth usage on a case-by-case basis. Net neutrality supporters scored points in August when the FCC ordering Comcast to stop interfering with peer-to-peer file sharing. The FCC said Comcast was unfairly slowing peer-to-peer networks, even though they used comparable bandwidth to other high-volume sites; Comcast denied the charges.

Net neutrality supporters say that more egregious examples of the Comcast case will occur without more regulation. Instead of ISPs simply pricing bandwidth to correspond with usage, they will price it according to which content they like, slowing down sites that competitors might have a stake in. The most common example of this is AT&T’s attempt to block Google products on Apple iPhones, so consumers would be forced to use AT&T sponsored Apple products. Net neutrality advocates claim this would just be the tip of the iceberg without a ban on bandwidth discrimination.

Jillian Bandes

Jillian Bandes is the National Political Reporter for Townhall.com