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An Open Letter to the United States Congress: Co-sponsor Efforts to Keep the Internet Free

November 17, 2009

Dear Member of Congress:

On behalf of the 362,000 members of the National Taxpayers Union (NTU), I urge you to support S. 1836, the "Internet Freedom Act" introduced by Senator John McCain, as well as H.R. 3924, the "Real Stimulus Act" introduced by Representative Marsha Blackburn. Both pieces of legislation would strive to keep the Internet free by prohibiting the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) from imposing unnecessary regulations.

These bills come in response to a recent decision by the FCC to pursue promulgation of "net neutrality" rules that would add to guidelines adopted in 2005 on Internet network operations. These rules prevent private Internet providers from managing broadband traffic to guarantee maximum user experience. While supporters argue that restrictions on service providers create a more "open" and "equal" Internet, the truth is that they will lead to slower access due to unmitigated bandwidth-hungry applications that may have less appeal to customers in the first place. Additionally, there would be little alternative for consumers due to regulatory roadblocks for new companies seeking to build and operate broadband networks.

In an October 22 press release, Senator McCain points out that the technology industry is the "nation's fastest growing job market" outside of health care. In 2008, amidst the worst economy we have seen in decades, high-tech industries created 77,000 additional jobs. While American families struggle to make ends meet and get back on track, the last thing we need is stifled innovation and a less efficient marketplace. NTU joins Senator McCain and Representative Blackburn in advocating for a vibrant and competitive free market to provide the openness and equality that serve consumers' needs, not federal dictates. Rather than micromanaging the operations of private businesses, the government should place its focus on reducing existing tax and regulatory burdens.

NTU supports S. 1836, the "Internet Freedom Act," and H.R. 3924, the "Real Stimulus Act." Any roll call votes on these pieces of legislation will be significantly weighted in our annual Rating of Congress.


Jordan Forbes
Federal Government Affairs Manager