Thursday, June 15, 2006

One Million Americans Urge Senate to Save the Internet

Net Heroes
Our real grassroots Coalition called today on Senators to heed growing public outcry for Net Neutrality as we delivered more than 1 million petitions and letters from average Americans to Capitol Hill. During the event we urged Congress to protect Net Neutrality and stand firm against efforts by phone and cable companies to control the Internet.

Senators Olympia Snowe (R-Maine) and Byron Dorgan (D-N.D.) joined us to call on their colleagues to support the "Internet Freedom and Preservation Act" (S. 2917), a bipartisan bill that would bar companies like AT&T, Verizon and Comcast from blocking, degrading or interfering with content or services on the Internet. Here are some of the comments from the event:

Senator Olympia Snowe

"The idea that brings us together is a free and unfettered Internet. It’s vital we preserve, not undermine, the extraordinarily democratic technological network - over which content providers from the largest corporations in the biggest cities in the world to single individuals in rural towns have equal opportunity to reach millions of Internet users."

Senator Byron Dorgan

"It’s essential that we preserve Internet freedom. The open architecture which now exists, and which allows everyone fair access to any site on the Internet, without gatekeepers, must be preserved. That is what our bill would do - preserve Internet freedom, which is at the very core of what makes the Internet so important, and something that enriches the lives of millions of Americans."

The million petition signatures and letters were collected via the Coalition Web site and by members of the coalition, including Free Press, Civic Action, Common Cause, Consumers Union, True Majority and Working Assets. Spokes people from MoveOn and the Christian Coalition of America were at the press event. Here are some of their comments:

Joan Blades of Moveon

"Net Neutrality has allowed the Internet to become the new public square, where everyday people can participate in our democracy and have their voices heard. We cannot let the Internet gatekeepers decide who gets into the public square -- everyone from MoveOn to the Christian Coalition should get in, so the best ideas can thrive based on their merit. The Coalition will intensify our grassroots pressure on the Senate to assure that Internet freedom is preserved and Net Neutrality remains the law of the land."

Michele Combs of the Christian Coalition of America

"We’re committed to working on behalf of our supporters to ensure that the Internet remains the free marketplace of ideas, products, and services that it is today. We urge the Senate to move aggressively to save the Internet and allow ideas to thrive on the World Wide Web, and we will do our part to make certain our supporters get that message."

More than 1 million Americans are speaking out on behalf of Internet freedom. Yet Congress still could cave to corporate pressure by rewriting laws and handing over control of the Internet to corporations like AT&T, Verizon and Comcast. The Senate must step in to defend the Internet from gatekeepers who plan to tax innovation and throttle the free market.

Let's keep the heat on. The Senate can not simply sell out the public and let AT&T, Verizon and Comcast turn our Internet into their private domain.

Watch this space for videos of the event.

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