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Alyssa Milano Chimes In On Net Neutrality

Jason Lee Miller
Staff Writer
Published: 2006-04-26

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The stars are aligning in favor of protection of Network Neutrality, dubbed by many as "the Internet's First Amendment." The latest to lend her star power to the cause is TV and film actress Alyssa Milano, who posted a passionate plea on her weblog urging supporters of the movement to contact the U.S. legislature.

Milano joins the movement just as the proposed "Markey Amendment," a provision tacked onto the Communications Opportunity, Promotion, and Enhancement Act of 2006 (COPE), is to be voted on by the House Subcommittee on Telecommunications and the Internet.

The Markey Amendment says that telecommunication and cable giants like AT&T and Verizon that provide broadband access have the obligation "not to block, impair, degrade, discriminate against, or interfere with the ability of any person to use a broadband connection to access, use, send, receive, or offer lawful content, applications, or services over the Internet." The House Committee votes on the amendment today.

As it stands, the bill introduces the Federal Communications Commission to the issue requiring the FCC to address Net Neutrality complaints and levy fines of $500,000 against those found in violation.

The movement to protect Network Neutrality has collected a diverse group of supporters that includes the "father of the Internet" Vinton Cerf, Internet giant Google, political activist group MoveOn.org, and Vonage co-founder Jeff Pulver.

Ms. Milano adds her voice to the swelling chorus, blogging that without the Markey Amendment, telecom giants could take advantage of their position:

"Corporations will have the ability to steer you to the services they are partial to. If your Internet provider is Comcast do you think they will allow quick access to iTunes if they have financial stakes in a different music service? These corporations will take away our right to choose. They will impede innovation, stifle consumer choices, and block information."

Those sentiments mix in with about 250,000 other petitioner signatures in favor the Markey Amendment collected by Free Press-led SaveTheInternet.com this week and delivered to Congress via Calif. Rep. Nancy Pelosi.

Supporters have sprung up all over the Internet - at MySpace.com and the recently mega-popular Askaninja.com. The effort has even united the most unlikely of political opponents including Gun Owners of America, Afro-Netizen, and Instapundit.

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About the Author:
Jason L. Miller is a staff writer for WebProNews covering technology and business.

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