FEB. 13, 2008 - INTERNET FREEDOM LAW WILL KEEP INTERNET OPEN FOR FUTURE INNOVATORS
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Representative Edward J. Markey (D-MA), chairman of the House Subcommittee on Telecommunication and the Internet, today introduced H.R. 5353, the Internet Freedom Preservation Act, continuing his efforts started in 2006 to ensure that the historic, open architecture nature of the Internet will be preserved and fostered for the consumers, content providers and high tech innovators of the future. Rep. Chip Pickering (R-MS) joined Rep. Markey as an original co-sponsor of the bill.
(Summary and text of the bill are linked below.)
Rep. Markey made the following introductory statement:
"The global leadership in high technology the United States provides stems directly from historic policies that have ensured that telecommunications networks are open to all lawful uses and to all users. In addition, because of the vital role that broadband networks and the Internet fulfill in exercising our First Amendment rights to speak, it is important that the United States adopt a policy endorsing the open nature of broadband networks.
"The open architecture nature of the Internet is baked into its "technological DNA" - it is what has ensured the Internet's place as the greatest "level playing field" ever created. At its core, the debate over Internet freedom is a battle about innovation and voices. For innovation, the Internet has no peer its ability to foster innovation and provide low barriers to entry for new ideas and businesses. As for voices, the Internet today is a wonderfully chaotic medium where voices both powerful and less powerful can be heard through the media mix. Individual citizens, civic groups, religious organizations, sporting clubs, trade associations, small business owners and others all have a stake in ensuring that broadband network providers keep their hands off the Internet and not degrade the ability of anybody to reach other citizens, to experiment and innovate, or to engage in free enterprise.
"The goal of this bipartisan legislation is to assure consumers, content providers, and high tech innovators that the historic, open architecture nature of the Internet will be preserved and fostered. H.R. 5353 is designed to assess and promote Internet freedom for consumers and content providers. Internet freedom generally embodies the notion that consumers and content providers should be free to send, receive, access and use the lawful applications, content, and services of their choice on broadband networks, possess the effective right to attach and use non-harmful devices to use in conjunction with their broadband services, and that content providers not be subjected to unreasonably discriminatory practices by broadband network providers.
"There are some who may wish to assert that this bill regulates the Internet. It does no such thing. The bill contains no requirements for regulations on the Internet whatsoever. It does, however, suggest that the principles which have guided the Internet's development and expansion are highly worthy of retention, and it seeks to enshrine such principles in the law as guide stars for U.S. broadband policy. The bill tasks the FCC with the job of conducting an assessment of broadband practices and consumer rights. Finally, it requires the FCC to hold eight broadband summits around the nation and to report back to Congress on its findings and any recommendations for further action.
"I look forward to working with Full Committee Chairman John Dingell (D-MI), Ranking Member Joe Barton (R-TX), and other colleagues in the Congress on this initiative and other broadband policies in the coming months."
Text of the Internet Freedom Preservation Act available HERE.
Summary of the Internet Freedom Preservation Act available HERE.
|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 13, 2008
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