Erik's Weblog 2.0

November 4, 2009 +2 more...

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Net Neutrality: Jay Inslee

Dear Mr. & Mrs. Thauvin:

I am writing to you today to update you on efforts to protect a free and open Internet for consumers and entrepreneurs. As you may know, "network neutrality" is the concept that consumers and innovators have the freedom to access any lawful content, use any application, and connect any device on their internet service. I believe that the Internet's core qualities of openness and neutrality have long been a primary catalyst for innovation of new applications, and form the foundation of the Internet. It has allowed start-up entrepreneurs a chance to bring new innovations that can compete with established technologies and industries.

I believe that the original spirit behind the Internet has enhanced our democratic process because it allows for every voice to be heard. Without proper enforcement of network neutrality, a host of issues may arise. A lack of network neutrality could limit a consumer's access to certain technologies and services, and could stifle the innovation of small startup companies because they can't afford a special Internet "fast-lane." In the last few years, some internet service providers have tried network traffic policies that blocked or degraded services that competed with their own content and services. These practices may have been implemented with good intentions, but they crossed a bright boundary by discriminating among different types of traffic on networks that should be open to all users and applications.

That is why I am a sponsor of H.R. 3458, the Internet Freedom Preservation Act of 2009. This legislation would cause the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and other agencies to guard against unreasonable discriminatory favoritism for, or degradation of, content by the operators of the networks that make up the Internet based upon that content's source, ownership, or destination. I look forward to supporting the principles of openness and neutrality in the coming months in hearings of the Committee on Energy and Commerce, Subcommittee on Telecommunications and the Internet, of which I am a member.

Additionally, I am pleased that the FCC has recently proposed to codify and extend its own previous guidelines, adopted in 2005, which had entitled consumers to their choice of internet content, applications and devices, as well as competition among providers. According to FCC Commissioner Julius Genachowski, the Commission's current proposal is to add that Broadband providers cannot block or degrade lawful traffic over their networks, favor certain content or applications over others and cannot disfavor an internet service just because it competes with a similar service offered by that broadband provider. The proposal also requires that broadband providers must be transparent about the service they are providing and how they are running their networks. You can find more information about the FCC's openness rulemaking here:

http://hraunfoss.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/DOC-293567A1.pdf

Maintaining freedom and openness on the Internet is one of my top priorities. I'm interested to know what you think about network openness or any other issue that concerns you. I encourage you to contact me through my website at http://www.house.gov/inslee/contact.

Very truly yours, JAY INSLEE, Member of Congress

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