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Press Release


Taxpayer Group Urges Congress to Scuttle Net Neutrality Legislation, Act Instead on Telecom Deregulation

For Immediate Release May 24, 2006

(Alexandria, VA) -- As Members of the House Judiciary Committee are slated to begin hearings on legislation that would impose "network neutrality" regulations on the Internet, Kristina Rasmussen, Senior Government Affairs Manager of the National Taxpayers Union (NTU), made the following statement:

"On behalf of its members, NTU urges Congress not to consider the so-called "network neutrality" legislation that House Judiciary Chairman James Sensenbrenner and Ranking Member John Conyers are bringing before the committee this week. The regulatory seizure of private property in the form of Internet network bandwidth, which the legislation openly endorses, would constitute a major cost to taxpayers and consumers.

With the current Congressional calendar already full of positive legislative steps (in terms of telecommunications and video services franchise reform), it's a shame to see the stand-alone Sensenbrenner net neutrality bill distracting our elected officials from addressing real reform. The Senate plans to mark up its version of the telecom reform bill in a second hearing on Thursday, while the House could call a floor vote at any time on it's unanimously- passed committee version.

During this nation's development of the "next generation" Internet, the last thing we need is net neutrality legislation. Such legislation would force networks to recoup the costs of their new plans from ordinary consumers and small businesses, while letting multi-billion- dollar service providers take a free ride on networks they neither contribute to nor own.

Congress does not need to fix a problem that doesn't exist -- this is a waste of time that could otherwise be spent on further telecom deregulation. As for the underlying franchise reform bill, floor action is long overdue. We can only advise Congress to move forward and ignore the baseless scare tactics by those who favor "net neutrality." We must instead address the very real issue of reforming America's outdated video franchising laws and expedite new telecom competition in the consumer broadband market."

Note: The 350,000-member NTU is a non-profit, non-partisan citizen group founded in 1969 to work for lower taxes and smaller government. More information on net neutrality and Internet regulation is available at www.ntu.org.

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