A couple of weeks ago I wrote about Missouri Republicans who were gearing up to fight Federal Communications Commission (FCC) rules that would guarantee net neutrality. Net neutrality is the collective term for a set of principles that would guarantee that Internet service providers (ISPs) cannot discriminate or deny access based on content. It is vitally important to a free and transparent internet. Consequently, in these days of a debased and diminished news media, it is arguably of equal importance to our democracy.
Since it is to the advantage of the ISPs to be able to charge differentially based on content, they are fighting these new rules tooth and nail. Thanks to their deep pockets and hard lobbying they are successfully recruiting many congress members to their cause.
Three Democratic members of the House from Missouri, Russ Carnahan, William Lacy Clay, and Emanuel Cleaver have signed onto a letter to the Chair of the FCC, Julius Genachowski, asking him to back away from his proposed new rules:
As the FCC embarks on its much anticipated rulemaking addressing the subject of “net neutrality,” we therefore urge the commission to carefully consider the full range of potential consequences that government action may have on network Investment. We are confident that the objective rule of facts will reveal the critical role that competition and private investment – and of necessity will continue to play – in building robust networks that are safe, open and secure. In light of the growth and innovation in new applications that the current regime has enabled, as compared to limited evidence demonstrating any tangible harm, we would urge you to avoid tentative conclusions which favor government regulation.
As I noted in my earlier post, these assertions are wrong on almost every point since they consist of easily discredited fictions promulgated by the ISPs. Read this Free Press report to understand just how misleading this letter is, and if any of the three congressmen represent you, contact them and make sure they understand the pertinent facts.
Update: Also consider these suggestions (via the DailyKos): Please ask Reps. Carnahan, Clay and Cleaver to:
… sign on with Rep. Waxman, Eshoo and Markey as co-sponsors of the Internet Freedom Preservation Act of 2009 (HR 3458). He should also write a separate letter to Chairman Genachowski of the FCC pledging his support of strong Net Neutrality rules.
The DailyKos diarist also points out that
The fight for Net Neutrality is very real, and it’s getting nasty. You can send a message to Washington by adding your name to the 2-million-person call to action.