Just when I thought the day couldn’t get any brighter, I read President Obama’s plug for Net Neutrality. Somebody get me some sunglasses; I’m practically blinded by the good news.
Earlier this morning, FCC Chair Julius Genachowski made a gigantic announcement: the agency will expand their rules to protect a free and open Internet. This is a really important step forward in keeping the Internet free from corporate control.
I’d been busy virtually high-fiving fellow activists on Twitter and browsing the agency’s new Web site, http://OpenInternet.gov when out came Obama’s drop-kick for Net Neutrality: during a speech shortly after Genachowski’s, the president issued his support for the chairman.
One key to strengthening education, entrepreneurship, and innovation in communities like Troy is to harness the full power of the internet. That means faster and more widely available broadband– as well as rules to ensure that we preserve the fairness and openness that led to the flourishing of the internet in the first place. Today, FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski is announcing a set of principles to preserve an open internet in which all Americans can participate and benefit. I am pleased that he is taking this step. It is an important reminder that the role of government is to provide investment that spurs innovation and common-sense ground rules to ensure that there is a level playing field for all comers who seek to contribute their innovations.
Can I get a “Boo-yah!”?
But wait -- there’s more. Reps. Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) and Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), and Sen. Byron Dorgan (D-ND), also added fuel to this Net Neutrality fire. All three issued statements in praise of Genachowski’s rulemaking plans.
An open and democratic Internet is necessary in order to allow innovation, economic opportunities, and consumer benefits to flourish, and it is critical that we maintain this access,” said Dorgan. “I applaud today’s announcement by the FCC that they will begin to create rules in support of net neutrality. I will closely follow the process and make sure the FCC moves quickly to approve strong, enforceable non-discrimination protections.
With health IT and smart grid technologies, we have seen the profound role that the internet can play in addressing national issues such as health care and climate change. The more the internet encourages investment, innovation, and consumer choice, the more effective it will be in helping to tackle these and other challenges. I look forward to working with the FCC to preserve and promote an open, transparent, and competitive internet for all Americans.
Rep. Markey introduced a bill in the House – the Internet Freedom Preservation Act – that would make Net Neutrality a law. About how an FCC rule would compliment a law, Markey said:
Rules put forward by the Commission in this area would be a key complement to the bill that Chairman Waxman, Congresswoman Eshoo and I are advancing to codify these vital protections for consumers and innovators, and I look forward to working with the Commission and my colleagues in the weeks and months ahead. The Internet is a tool of commerce, a tool of democracy, and a tool of daily life. In the same way that our communications networks have been guided by nondiscrimination for decades, this generation’s communications networks should operate in the same transparent and nondiscriminatory environment.
Oh to be in the halls of Comcast and Verizon right now. Somebody’s gotta have destroyed a stress ball by now.
The truth is, there is a gathering storm for Net Neutrality – the likes of which we’ve never seen until now. We’re closer than ever to putting this issue to rest once and for all, and protecting the open Internet we’ve been dreaming about (No, it’s not sad that I dream about the Internet; I love my work.)
This day couldn’t get any better unless more lawmakers stepped up to co-sponsor the Net Neutrality bill. Use the momentum from today to urge them to do so.