Assailing 'powerful media conglomerates,' Franken promises new net neutrality bill

Even as a politically divided legislature looks at whether or not to let net neutrality proceed in its current (or any) form, Minnesota Sen. Al Franken is promising legislation that "would call violations of net neutrality out for what they are--anti-competitive actions by powerful media conglomerates that represent violations of our anti-trust laws," he said during a speech at the South By Southwest (SXSW) Interactive Festival.

While conceding that big corporations are "not inherently evil," Franken did call out Comcast (Nasdaq: CMCSA) and Verizon (NYSE: VZ) for their potential to abuse the Internet.

"Do you think Comcast would refrain from making it harder for people to watch this speech online if they could do so legally?" Franken asked. "Maybe you don't care for whatever Verizon is peddling on its V-Cast. So you go to load up a YouTube video of something else. But if Verizon selectively throttles bandwidth, as we've seen reports indicating they might, that video might load slower and at a lower resolution."

While mostly talking about net neutrality, Franken also took time to hammer on a few favorite subjects: Comcast's NBC Universal acquisition and the threat that "it won't be long before Verizon or AT&T (NYSE: T) starts thinking about buying ABC or DirecTV (Nasdaq: DTV)."

For more:
- The Uptake has this story and transcript

Related articles:
Congress expected to zap FCC net neutrality stance
FCC fights back at net neutrality challenge
House divided: Senator Hutchison acts to block FCC net neutrality funds

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