Seventy-Two Democrats Abandon Public on Net Neutrality
By Megan Tady, October 16, 2009
Seventy-two Democrats – count ‘em – just backstabbed you. This afternoon, they sent a letter to the Federal Communications Commission asking them to walk away from their plans to protect Net Neutrality.
They also defected from their own party, abandoning President Obama’s tech agenda that supports a free and open Internet, where competition and innovation can flourish.
Wish I could say this is a joke, but the letter hit my desk an hour ago, 72 signatures included.
It’s outrageous: Dozens of the lawmakers we’ve elected to look out for us in Washington are saying they’d rather hand the Internet over to a few powerful corporations than safeguard it for the public.
And the cause of this congressional panic? A progressive proposal that the FCC just wants to circulate for public comment.
In September, FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski announced that the commission would expand rules to protect Net Neutrality, the principle that stops Internet service providers from blocking and controlling online content. On Thursday, the FCC will vote on a notice of proposed rulemaking to establish Net Neutrality rules, which is the first step in the regulatory process.
But the deep-pocketed telco lobby on the Hill is doing everything it can to derail protections for an open Internet. And it appears to be working. After all, the Dems’ letter parrots telco talking points – they had to come from somewhere, and it certainly wasn’t from the more than 1.6 million people who have signed a petition in support of Net Neutrality.
How is it that a handful of corporations are co-opting the debate, even as hundreds of thousands of people say, “Enough is enough”? This is a clear example of “special interests” vs. “real Americans.” Corporations don’t want any rules that prohibit them from acting as Internet gatekeepers – they don’t even want the FCC to consider them. And they’ve got the influence and power to convince lawmakers to act against our interests and reject an open Internet.
But we’re powerful, too, and we’ve got to show it. Now’s not the time to be timid. We want two million people shouting for Net Neutrality to send a resounding message to the FCC that the public supports them.
Add your name to the petition for an open Internet right now. Then Tweet it. Facebook it. Ask your friends to do it. The fight for Net Neutrality is very real, and it’s getting nasty.
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