By Sara Jerome - 09/28/10 10:39 PM EDT
Disagreements in a leading coalition of Internet companies are preventing the organization from supporting net-neutrality legislation that House Energy and Commerce Chairman Henry Waxman (Calif.) may introduce, sources said late Tuesday.
Several people with knowledge of the group said leading voices in the Open Internet Coalition (OIC) hoped to support the bill as it was developed this month, but a lack of consensus was clear as the latest drafts arose. As of Tuesday night, the coalition had decided that it is not supporting or working against the legislation, they said.
The Open Internet Coalition (OIC) provided input to Congressional staff as the legislation developed, along with consumer advocates, phone and cable companies. OIC includes Internet companies with a variety of interests, including Google, IAC, Amazon, Facebook, Skype and many others. It also includes consumer groups.
Part of OIC's problem with the bill, sources said, is that draft versions impact the varied member companies in very different ways.
For instance, a draft bars wireless Internet providers from blocking competing services. That could help companies who compete with providers, such as Skype. But it would not keep providers from blocking offerings by non-competitors, particularly high-bandwidth ones, the sources said. Small start-ups whose business models are new would also go unprotected, they said.