Conyers: Don't Fall for CBUI's Message


Rep. John Conyers (D-Mich.), the top Democrat on the House Judiciary
Committee, is opposed to applying network-neutrality rules to cable operators as
a business coalition that includes Microsoft Corp. has been advocating before
federal regulators.

Conyers is expected to announce his opposition in an opinion column appearing
in Tuesday's edition of the Detroit News. A copy of the column was made
available to Multichannel News Monday.

Conyers is usually an opponent of deregulation. But in the column, the
Detroit lawmaker explained that he is more suspicious of Microsoft and the
Coalition of Broadband Users and Innovators than of cable operators because
"cable modems have shown no signs of abusing or potentially abusing their

The CBUI -- which includes Inc., eBay Inc. and The Walt Disney
Co., as well as Leo J. Hindery Jr.'s Yankees Entertainment & Sports Network
-- has asked the Federal Communications Commission to block cable operators from
using their high-speed-data networks to discriminate against Web merchants with
which they do not have financial relationships.

"At best, CBUI's proposal is a solution in search of a problem. At worst, it
is a cynical ploy by some tech titans to employ the federal government on their
behalf to disadvantage competitors," Conyers wrote. "The government is better
off staying out of this one."

Last week in Chicago, Microsoft chairman Bill Gates told a National Show
audience he wasn't seeing the kind of discrimination the CBUI has raised with
the FCC.

"I am really pleased at how the cable industry has been providing openness on
the cable platform," Gates said. "There is a lot of openness being provided on
that platform."