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Daily Democracy

Ryan Blethen discusses the press, media and democracy. Daily Democracy is part of the Democracy Papers, a series of articles, essays and editorial opinion examining threats to our freedoms of speech and the press.

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April 22, 2008 8:02 AM

Commerce hearing: Inoye, Dorgan, Martin

Posted by Ryan Blethen

Sen. Inoyue asked Martin if there was a need for Congress to get involved if the FCC has the authority to regulate the Internet. Martin did not answer. He said that some network providers like Verizon agree that the FCC does have the authority, but Comcast has said the commission does not, and has filed a petition saying as much.

Sen. Dorgan has followed up on whether Congress needs to get involved. Dorgan asked what happens if the courts side with Comcast's position that the FCC does not have the authority to keep the Internet open?

Martin finally said that he think we do need the authority. He was careful with his answer and did not say that Congress should get involved.

Dorgan is doing a nice job hitting all the right points. He ended by sighting Google. He asked what will happen to the next Google if a network provider is allowed to charge fees that might hinder a small start-up like Google was in the late 1990s.

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