Thursday, August 03, 2006

News You Can Use If You Use The Net

Follow-up to a previous post regarding Net Neutrality, which is in danger of not passing in Congress. Received today:

It might not be in the news everyday – but the fight to protect freedom on the Internet is far from over. In fact, new battles are brewing right now. Because I know this issue matters to you, I wanted to take a moment and update you on the progress of the anti-net neutrality bill pending in the Senate.

For the last month, the net neutrality-busting bill has been stalled, in large part because of the huge outpouring of grassroots and netroots support. Senator Bill Frist has suggested that he won't let the issue come up if the Republicans in the anti-net neutrality camp cannot guarantee 60 votes.

So far they haven't been able to get those votes - because of you and others who believe in protecting Internet freedom. Almost 25,000 people have already signed our petition calling on the Senate to defeat any telecommunications bill without adequate provisions protecting net neutrality. United our voices put real pressure on undecided senators, and make it much harder for the Republican leadership to get the votes they need to move the legislation forward without those protections.

But we can't forget that the telecommunications lobby and other special interests in Washington, DC are incredibly strong and highly motivated on this issue. We know they are trying to wheedle and finagle vote commitments before the summer recess starts, hoping that if they make enough deals they will have their 60 votes to overturn net neutrality when we return in September. We've seen this kind of backroom dealing before – notably in the ongoing battle against drilling in the Arctic Refuge.

Big telecommunication companies and the special interests who stand to profit if net neutrality is defeated have poured more than $1 million a week into a media and lobbyist campaign to sway the last few votes they need. And it seems to be paying off: we are hearing that they may be only a few votes away from that critical 60. While it doesn't look like there will be time for a vote before the recess, we can count on them to be hitting this issue hard as soon as the Senate re-convenes.

I know you believe we must protect the free and open Internet we take for granted. But we need all the support we can get. Please forward the petition to everyone you know who reads blogs, participates in online organizing, or simply values the information and conversation only an open Internet can provide.

Ask your friends and family to sign now.

"Dear Friends, I believe that we must preserve a free and open Internet. Please join me in calling on the Senate to protect net neutrality and sign this petition."

Allowing net neutrality to be defeated this week will end a 20 year history of online egalitarianism, and innovation. A two-tiered Internet (which is what the telecommunications companies are after) denies the democratic principle that all information ought to be delivered equally and creates a system where only those who pay a premium will be guaranteed timely delivery of their messages and content.

Ask your friends and family to sign now. Please join me in calling on the Senate to protect net neutrality and sign this petition.

We need to keep up the pressure and make sure the anti-net neutrality forces know we are still vigilant, and we need to be ready to act quickly soon.

Once again, thank you for your help in this fight.


Maria Cantwell


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