The Internet is a critical communications tool for me and millions of other consumers. Please don't let corporate telecommunications giants block, slow or otherwise discriminate against information, services, applications offered on the Internet or charge new access fees to Internet-based companies that offer services that I want over the Internet.
- Some phone companies have already blocked access to competitor telephone services offered over the Internet.
- Those that are planning to offer video over their high-speed lines want to speed access to their own video services over those of their rivals, eliminating competitive alternatives that could help lower my cable bill.
- And recently, two large communications companies said they plan on charging Internet companies for faster speeds to deliver services to their customers, even after they've already charged consumers for broadband service.
If they're allowed to do that, only the big Internet companies will be able to afford to pay and entrepreneurial start-ups that could offer consumers better, more innovative services will be shut out. Those companies that can afford the fees will just pass them on to me; I'll end up paying more for broadband service that is already too expensive. Unfortunately, right now, nothing can stop these companies from doing any of this.
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has done little to stop this. Though it issued a policy--known as network neutrality--against this type of discrimination on the Internet, it won't write the rules to prevent that behavior, nor will it enforce the policy. Weak policies are not enough.
You need to step in to protect my Internet.
Congress is now considering the Communications Opportunity, Promotion, and Enhancement Act of 2006 (COPE Act) in the House of Representatives. That Act not only does nothing to protect the internet from discriminatory tactics of network owners, it actually reduces the FCC's ability to prevent discriminatory behavior.
Instead of the weak provisions in the COPE Act, Congress should enact strong and enforceable legislation that would ensure that the Internet remains open and unfettered by the companies that control high-speed Internet lines and which prevents telecommunications and cable companies from charging Internet-based companies fees just to reach me.
Please support legislation that would provide zero-tolerance for any network discrimination and prohibit the telephone and cable companies from charging fees to Internet companies. Legislation should not include loopholes that allow companies to block or impair the flow of information over the Internet under the guise of "network management."