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"Net Neutrality" Legislation Limits Consumer Choice, Nation's Largest Taxpayer Group Says
For Immediate Release March 19, 2008
Pete Sepp, (703) 683-5700
(Alexandria, Va.) -- Backers of a bill that would allow the federal government to mandate certain speeds for Internet content argue that it's necessary to ensure online "freedom," but the 362,000-member National Taxpayers Union (NTU) is warning lawmakers that more regulations will lead to less competition and higher prices for consumers. The so-called "Internet Freedom Preservation Act of 2008" (H.R. 5353) would prevent private Internet providers from managing broadband traffic to guarantee maximum user experience -- and promote what the bill's supporters call "net neutrality."
"The only way government can encourage online competition is by setting aside market-meddling tendencies and allowing innovation to proceed at its own pace," NTU President Duane Parde said. "History has repeatedly shown -- including the history of the Internet itself -- that less regulation produces lower prices and more consumer benefits. Keeping the Internet free from punitive taxes and harmful 'net neutrality' restrictions will likewise keep America on track in the worldwide race to deliver exciting new online services." On the heels of hearings last week regarding H.R. 5353, NTU is stepping up its grassroots activities to fight the bill on the house floor.
The bill would establish government-intervention standards for broadband policy and require the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to impose these rules on service providers in order to create an allegedly more "open" and "equal" Internet. The real results, however, will be slower access due to unmitigated bandwidth-hungry applications that have less appeal to customers anyway. In addition, there would be little relief for consumers thanks to regulatory roadblocks for new companies seeking to build and operate broadband networks.
"The best way to ensure openness and equality is through a vibrant and competitive free market -- not burdensome government mandates," Parde concluded. "Rather than steering the affairs of private business -- and thereby steering away potential new companies -- the government should focus on reducing existing tax and regulatory burdens."
NTU is a nonpartisan, nonprofit citizen organization founded in 1969 to work for lower taxes, smaller government, and economic freedom at all levels. Note: For further information on NTU's work fighting discriminatory regulations and taxes on telecommunications, visit www.ntu.org.