Witness the bill (S. 2360) introduced on March 2 by Sen. Ron Wyden, a Democrat from Oregon. His "Internet Non-Discrimination Act of 2006" provides that a network operator "shall not interfere with, block, degrade, alter, modify, impair, or change any bits, content, application or service transmitted over the network of such operator." Nor shall it "discriminate in favor of itself or any other person, including any affiliate or company with such operator has a business relationship in (A) allocating bandwidth; and (B) transmitting content or applications or services to or from a subscriber."
Finally, in the true style of all public utility regulation, Wyden's bill provides that "a network operator shall?offer just, reasonable, and non-discriminatory rates, terms, and conditions" for all its broadband services. Other legislativeas well.
Thus far, there have been virtually no complaints that any network operator has actually engaged in any discriminatory conduct. No network operator has entered into a business arrangement, say, that somehow favors Amazon's content over that of Borders. There have been a few statements made by AT&T Chief Executive Ed Whitacre and other network operator executives to the effect thatto consider charging content providers such as Google or Yahoo a higher fee for speedier service on their Internet backbone facilities if these content providers desire some form of premium service to better serve their customers.
In a competitive marketplace, the government usually does not require that vendors treat all customers and all suppliers alike for all purposes. Very often such differences in treatment in a competitive marketplace reflect economic efficiencies to be realized from that result in cost savings, and these cost savings enhance overall consumer welfare. Avoiding broad prohibitions on such differential treatment gives operators the freedom and flexibility to invest with confidence in new facilities and innovative services consumers may value.