Net Neutrality: Patty Murray
Dear Mr. Thauvin:
Thank you for your interest in telecommunications regulations, specifically "Net Neutrality." I appreciate hearing from you.
As you may know, the Net Neutrality debate focuses on the ability of all consumers to access Internet content and run the applications and devices of their choice. The principle of Net Neutrality guarantees that the consumer would have access to all websites and search engines on an equal basis. The consumer would still decide which Internet Service Provider (ISP) and Internet access speed, such as dial-up or broadband, to use and pay for, but the ISP would not be able to give special preference to certain websites over others, regardless of which service the consumer chooses.
This year, Rep. Edward Markey (D-MA-7) introduced H.R. 3458, the Internet Freedom Preservation Act, which would establish certain Net Neutrality duties for broadband providers. This bill would prohibit broadband providers from discriminating against Internet users, ensure that Internet service is provided to any person who seeks it, and not prioritize certain internet traffic over others. So far this year, no similar bill has been introduced in the Senate.
In September 2009, the Chairman of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), Julius Genachowski, announced that the FCC would promulgate rules to implement Net Neutrality. These rules, which are similar to what has been proposed by Congress in years past, would entitle all users who wish to use the Internet to access it, allows users to decide which websites and ISPs they want to use, prohibits discrimination of content by service providers, and increases transparency between ISPs and consumers. These rules will be introduced at the October 2009 meeting of the FCC, and are subject to a rulemaking process that is only in its early stages right now.
I support the long-standing principles of open access to the Internet and believe that access to the Internet is vital to education, communications, and economic growth. In addition, I support efforts that would increase innovation and competition when it comes to telecom and Internet services, as well as efforts to bring broadband to more Americans. I also believe that a primary reason the Internet has prospered is because government has not unnecessarily imposed in its operations, and that Congress must be extremely cautious in legislating on the Internet.
Rest assured, I will continue to work to ensure that consumers have open and fair access to the Internet during the 111th Congress. And, I will be sure to keep your views in mind as Congress deals with Net Neutrality and other telecommunication issues. Thank you again for your interest in this issue.
I hope all is well in Everett.
United States Senator