While the House has been fighting over its version of a telecom reform bill, it's time for the Senate to step in with their draft. Everyone's favorite Senator from Alaska, Ted Stevens, has put out his draft of the bill, and some are noting that it looks a lot more like an appropriations bill, with pet projects doled out to plenty of Senators and their friends, rather than a telecom reform bill. On the two questions many techies have been asking, the answers are not too surprising. Network neutrality is brushed aside, with barely a nod. The bill suggests that the FCC look into the issue and make recommendations to Congress at a later date. While it's good that we're not seeing heavy handed government intervention when it comes to network neutrality, the lack of any kind of provisions to deal with the potential for problems seems short-sighted. Since the telcos have made it pretty clear they can't wait to get rid of network neutrality, to say that it's a problem we can deal with in the future doesn't seem in touch with what's actually happening. Secondly, the bill breathes some bit of new life back into the broadcast flag -- the issue that refuses to die. It's a slightly modified version of the broadcast flag, but it's not clear why it belongs in a telecom reform bill at all, other than as a gift to a few content companies who want the broadcast flag and are looking for any bill to attach it to.
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