Overnight Tech: Europe votes on net neutrality

THE LEDE: The European Parliament votes Tuesday on a net neutrality bill that critics say contains major loopholes.

Net neutrality advocates have criticized an exemption to the law that allows "specialized services" to receive paid Internet fast-lanes. The bill's supporters say it would allow certain activities that require a particularly fast and stable connection -- like robotic surgery -- to make use of prioritization.

But critics worry that the exemption will give companies in other industries a chance to take advantage of the loophole to gain access to fast lanes of their own. "EU-based start-ups and small businesses would be left behind, unable to compete," said a coalition of groups and tech companies in a letter Monday.

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Other concerns over the bill stem from its provisions on zero-rating -- member states can decide whether they want to regulate the controversial practice -- and other different types of throttling. Zero-rating is when Internet providers allow customer's to use certain applications or websites without it hitting their data plan.

Advocates say all of their concerns could be resolved through amendments being offered in the Parliament.

If the bill is approved, it would immediately become law in all 28 member countries of the European Union. An E.U. regulatory body will ultimately provide member states with guidance they can use while pursuing the issue. The draft legislation under consideration Tuesday is the product of negotiations that ended in June.

GOP PROBES THE ECONOMICS OF NET NEUTRALITY: As Republicans head into a hearing Tuesday about the economic impact of new Internet rules, they argue that "there is empirical evidence, economic modeling, and real world results that demonstrate the current and future impacts" of the Federal Communications Commission's net neutrality rules. They argue uncertainty surrounding the rules is already deflating investment, pointing to a drop in capital expenditures in the second quarter for some Internet service providers, compared to the previous year.

DEMS PUSH BACK: Democrats will attempt to dispute that notion, with Rep. Anna Eshoo (D-Calif.) arguing "the sky is not falling and we have broadband providers' own data to prove it." Of the four economists invited to testify, only one will tout the benefits of the new rules. New York University professor Nicholas Economides will argue that the economic impact of the entire Internet marketplace, and not just Internet service providers, should be taken into account. He also says the drop in capital expenditures can largely be traced back to an AT&T plan announced before the rules were approved.  

HISPANIC CAUCUS PUSHES CODING: The Congressional Hispanic Caucus is pushing members to learn the value of coding and its "critical" importance to prepare children for future jobs in the United States. The event aims to highlight underrepresented minorities in the STEM fields. The event is taking place at 5 p.m. in the foyer of the Rayburn office building.

SANDERS JOINS VERIZON PROTEST: Bernie SandersBernie SandersCharlotte requires race discussion Hillary, Democrats refuse to have Debate: Hillary must play for millennials, not wait for Trump to lose them Juan Williams: Verdict on big debate will be instantaneous MORE joined workers protesting in a contract dispute with Verizon on Monday, the Huffington Post reported. The contract negotiations cover nearly 40,000 workers who are represented by the Communications Workers of America and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers.

U.S. WORRIES OVER THREAT TO UNDERWATER FIBER CABLES: U.S. defense officials are expressing private concerns about Russia's potential to cut the fiber optic cables running along the ocean's floor that connect much of the world's Internet. The New York Times reported officials have worried about Russian submarines and spy ships that are operating near the cables.

EVOLVE COALITION ADDS ONE: The group, which advocates for LTE-U, a new wireless technology, said Tuesday it was adding Nokia Networks to its ranks.

WAL-MART TESTS DRONES: The nation's largest retailer has asked the Federal Aviation Administration for the right to test drone deliveries to its facilities and to customers' homes.

NEW YORKER MULLING INSTANT ARTICLES: David Remnick, the editor of the New Yorker, gave a much-shared interview to The Guardian in which he said that he expects talks with Facebook about Instant Articles -- which are hosted by Facebook rather than publishers -- to "come to a good resolution." "It's gotta work for us in terms of subscription," he told the paper. "I can't just give away material and get all excited about a big bump in traffic that has no real benefit. Then I'm in business to do what? Help Facebook."

 

ON TAP:

The EU parliament will vote on net neutrality rules.  

At 10 a.m., an Energy and Commerce subcommittee will hold a hearing on the "investment impact" of net neutrality rules.

At 5 p.m., the Congressional Hispanic Caucus will hold an event pushing the benefits of coding.

 

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT:

Tech companies and advocacy groups are criticizing a draft net neutrality bill in the European Union's parliament they say would allow internet service providers to arbitrarily slow web traffic.

Sen. Jeanne Shaheen Jeanne ShaheenDems call for better birth control access for female troops GOP puts shutdown squeeze play on Dems Senators seek to boost women in international forces MORE (D-N.H.) is pushing for emergency responders to be included in a task force that is crafting a new registration system for drones.

Twitter is partnering with CBS for the second Democratic primary debate next month, part of an increasing trend for news networks to partner with social media companies during the presidential contest.

New York's attorney general announced Monday that he is investigating whether Internet service providers are delivering the speeds they promise to consumers.

European regulators are pursuing a slate of "high-priority" antitrust probes of Google that hit at distinct parts of the company, Margrethe Vestager, the European Union's antitrust head, said in an interview published Monday

 

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