Washington, D.C., can get hot and muggy in August, which is why lawmakers leave for most of the month, and many staffers, lobbyists and other industry-types also clear out of town in search of cooler climes.
But there is something odd going on right now in Washington. Representatives of some of the nation’s largest technology companies have been summoned to the K Street offices of the Information Technology Industry Council, a venerable industry organization that lobbies the government on behalf of a wide variety of tech giants, including Microsoft (MSFT), Oracle (ORCL), Cisco (CSCO), Apple (AAPL), Hewlett Packard (HPQ) and Dell (DELL).
The ITI is hosting an apparently hastily-convened series of discussions led by industry lobbyists on the future of national broadband policy, and specifically the red-hot issue of net neutrality: the concept that broadband providers shouldn't discriminate against rival content. The meetings, first reported on by The Wall Street Journal, follow a failed attempt by the Federal Communications Commission to achieve a consensus between powerful Web and telecom companies, which foundered after Google (GOOG) and Verizon (VZ) bailed on the agency’s closed-door talks and struck their own deal.