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Qwest CEO Dick Notebaert said that proposed Internet neutrality legislation is "nuts," and called it a "preposterous charge" that a telecommunications company would ever block or degrade somebody's Internet service.

Congress is again considering so-called "Net neutrality" legislation, which supporters say is needed to ensure that the Internet remains open and nondiscriminatory.

The bill, which would prohibit telecommunications carriers from offering preferential treatment to certain content providers, has had bipartisan support. But it is given more of a chance to succeed now that Democrats control Congress.

Without such a law, proponents argue, carriers will have too much power in controlling Internet traffic, and certain Internet content providers could be driven out of business or forced to pay an exorbitant amount to compete. Consumers could find certain Web sites blocked or slower to get to.

"(The) reintroduction of the Internet Freedom Preservation Act marks another step toward ensuring the fate of the Internet lies in the hands of its users and not the hands of a few gatekeepers," Sen. Olympia Snowe, R-Maine, said in a statement.

....Telcos and cable companies counter that they, too, want the Internet to be open and would never block it. But they say customers such as an online movie service should have the choice in a free-enterprise system to pay an additional fee for "expedited" delivery of their content.

..."I'm actually pretty optimistic the ploy won't work," Notebaert said, "that logic will prevail."

He maintained that Net neutrality is supposed to be a solution, but first there needs to be a problem, and there isn't one.

"There's been no infractions, no abuses," he said, adding there are regulatory and legal remedies to deal with abuses should they arise.,2777,DRMN_23910_5274034,00.html

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