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Markey, Independent Producers Ask FCC to Step Up on Net Neutrality

August 18, 2010

BOSTON - Massachusetts Congressman Ed Markey and a handful of other Democrats are urging Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Julius Genachowski to take action to preserve an open and free Internet. Their letter to Genachowski comes a week after Google and Verizon released a proposal that would essentially leave the "wired" Internet free and open, but allow corporations to manage the data flow on fast-growing wireless networks.

Laura Flanders, host of the program GritTV, which is broadcast on FreeSpeech TV and online, says independent programs like hers depend on network neutrality.

"This is a fight for our lives, I believe - for the Internet to remain an arena for public access. We cannot allow the rules to be written up by for-profit companies."

Flanders worries that too much corporate influence in regulating the Internet could lead the online world to become a mostly pay-to-play medium, much like cable television.

"If we allow them to give away our Internet, we're allowing them to essentially sell the building blocks and the communication tools of our democracy that enable us to function as a society."

Google and Verizon say their plan will preserve openness online while allowing wireless companies to manage network traffic for the benefit of users. However, Flanders and Markey share concerns that it could lead to a tiered Internet, favoring corporate partners and agendas at the expense of the public interest.

Markey is also a co-author of pending net neutrality legislation in the House.

A copy of the letter is at http://tiny.cc/6a18m, and on Markey's website, http://markey.house.gov.

Eric Mack, Public News Service - MA