Net Neutrality Champion Takes Charge in the Senate

The pieces are falling into place to finally pass Net Neutrality.

Yesterday, President Barack Obama signed an economic stimulus bill with $7.2 billion to get fast, affordable, neutral Internet to the nearly half of American homes that don't have it.

Net Neutrality was written into the DNA of the broadband stimulus. The plan requires that those who build Internet networks (using the nearly $4.7 billion in NTIA grants provided by the bill) adhere to the nondiscrimination and openness principles at the core of Net Neutrality.

Obama himself pledged to “take a back seat to no one” in his commitment to Net Neutrality. And the administration’s technology policies now posted on the White House Web site list Net Neutrality as the top priority.

Obama’s all-but-certain pick to head the FCC, Julius Genachowski, was one of the principal architects of the president’s pro-Net Neutrality platform.

Kerry

Sen. John Kerry

All good signs. But what’s perhaps most significant is the announcement last week that Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) will lead the influential Senate Commerce subcommittee on communications and technology.

Kerry is a longtime supporter of Net Neutrality. In 2006, he wrote for this blog that “Net Neutrality and internet build-out are crucial to building a more modern and fair Information Society.”

In 2007, he engaged SavetheInternet.com supporters in a spirited debate in which he stated that his “bottom line” was to see that “our economic and political future is tied up in a free and open Internet, available to all Americans. That involves making sure the content of the Internet flows freely.”

His voting record bears this out. Kerry has been a supporter of the Senate Net Neutrality bill in the previous Congress, and he voted for Net Neutrality in committee and against communications legislation that didn’t protect the open Internet.

In the last Congress, Net Neutrality supporters were on the defensive. “Those of us who believe in Net Neutrality will block legislation that doesn't get the job done,” Kerry said in 2006. “It looks like that's the fight we're going to have.”

As fortunes have shifted in Washington, Net Neutrality supporters on the Hill, in the White House and at the FCC are moving from defense to offense.

We now need to make Net Neutrality the law of the land. At SavetheInternet.com, we're re-engaging the more than 850 organizations, 1.6 million people, and 6,000 bloggers to pass a bill this year.

Free Press Executive Director Josh Silver says, “we're not talking about if Net Neutrality will be made permanent. Now, we’re talking about when.”

With powerful supporters like Kerry, Genachowski and Obama, we're not far off.

People + Policy

= Positive Change for the Public Good

people + policy = Positive Change for the Public Good