There’s a lot going on in the telecom world. Here’s a recap of the past few days:
March 1, 2006
Dear Chairman Barton, Ranking Member Dingell and Members of the Committee:
We are a broad based group of Internet consumers, content providers, service, device and application companies that believe that unless Congress acts, the Internet is at risk of losing the openness that has made it an engine for phenomenal social and economic growth. We are writing to urge that Congress take steps now to preserve this fundamental underpinning of the Internet and to assure the Internet remains a platform open to innovation and progress.
Specifically, as Congress considers legislation to update the nation’s telecommunications policy, it must recognize that the Internet’s open architecture and the pre-existing legal framework that created the Internet should not be just “hoped for” in a broadband world. The essential elements must be guaranteed by a meaningful and enforceable net neutrality requirement.
The open architecture of the Internet has always let providers, as well as individual innovators, share, offer and create the content, devices, applications, and services that the marketplace desires. Consumers in the marketplace, and not network operators, should decide what content and services succeed or fail. The end-to-end design of the Internet was made possible by the non-discriminatory framework that has long been the bedrock
of U.S. telecommunications policy. It is this framework that has prevented gatekeepers on the Internet and guaranteed the innovation and economic success that has driven the American economy over the past decade.
While it is appropriate for Congress to develop new legislation to promote competition among broadband networks, it must also ensure that consumers and providers continue to have the right to use those networks to send and receive content, and to use applications and services, without interference by network operators. As Internet pioneer Vint Cerf said, the Internet is, and must remain, ‘innovation without permission”.
We stand ready to work with you to pass legislation that will continue the successful legal policies that are essential to allowing the broadband Internet to thrive.
Aegon Direct Marketing Services, Inc.
Adaptive Marketing LLC
American Association of Libraries
Association of Research Libraries
Consumer Electronics Association
Consumer Federation of America
eBrands Commerce Group
Electronic Retailing Association
Home Shopping Network
Iceland Health Inc.
Interactive Travel Services Association
Media Access Project
Media Partners Worldwide
Product Partners LLC
Sling Media Inc.
We all support the possibility of additional consumer choices and competition among broadband providers, but I believe that as we consider new regulatory “rules of the road” for broadband providers we should not enable them to stifle competition in the provision of Internet content, applications, and services. Franchising relief should not be considered by the Committee without due consideration of the terms by which these carriers will make content available to consumers. It’s appropriate and necessary for the Committee and Congress to ensure that the non-discriminatory framework that has allowed both the Internet to thrive and competition on the Web to flourish is preserved.
Without meaningful, enforceable “Net Neutrality” rules, we will be enabling network operators to fundamentally change the open nature of the Internet and allowing them to become gatekeepers for Internet users’ access to content.