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Net Neutrality Scores A Win

Jason Lee Miller
Staff Writer
Published: 2006-05-25

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Net Neutrality advocates got something today they haven't been used to: a victory in Congress. The Internet Freedom and Nondiscrimination Act, sponsored by Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner and Rep. John Conyers, won the majority approval of the House Judiciary Committee, passing by a vote of 20-13.

"Today's vote would have been unthinkable three weeks ago," said Josh Silver, executive director of Free Press, the nonpartisan media reform group that coordinates the SavetheInternet.com Coalition.

"It shows that the politicians are listening to the vast number of citizens who don't want the Internet to become the private domain of the cable and telephone monopolies. Today's vote is a milestone for the fast-growing movement to protect the public interest and defend Internet freedom."

The coalition, representing 700 groups and amassing 750,00 signatures in just a few short weeks, tried unsuccessfully to sway support for Net Neutrality provisions in the COPE Act before it passed out of the House Energy and Commerce Committee. Representative Ed Markey proposed the amendment, which was opposed by Reps. Joe Barton and Bobby Rush. It was voted down by a vote of 34-22.

The SaveTheInternet.com Coalition has also attracted celebrities like Alyssa Milano and Moby to sign on to the cause. Recently, former First Lady and New York Senator Hillary Clinton threw her support behind Net Neutrality legislation. Perhaps the strongest voices have come from the "father of the Internet" Vinton Cerf, and the inventor of the World Wide Web, Tim Berners-Lee.

Often accused of being a "liberal" organization, the coalition actually represents a variety of political persuasions from the Christian Coalition and the US Conference of Catholic Bishops to civil libertarian groups.

"We urge Congress to move aggressively to save the Internet -- and allow ideas rather than money to control what Americans can access on the World Wide Web," said Roberta Combs, President of the Christian Coalition of America. "We urge all Americans to contact their Congressmen and Senators and tell them to save the Internet and to support Net Neutrality."

Sensenbrenner's bill will now pass to the full House after the Memorial Day holiday.


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

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