Consumers Union Writes Letter to Members of Congress Urging Net Neutrality

Broadband Updates, Net Neutrality October 8th, 2009


The non-profit advocacy group Consumers Union on Wednesday issued a letter to members of Congress commending the Federal Communications Commission for its efforts to enact stricter Net Neutrality rules. The letter said that the Internet has been governed by principles of openness and consumer choice from its inception.

“Consumers have had unfettered access to newly developed content and ideas, and their preferences and choices have determined whether a website, application, or service succeeded or failed,” wrote Joel Kelsey, policy analyst, and Alex Chasick, senior fellow

The letter said that such freedom is being threatened, as internet service providers impose restrictions blunting competition and stifle innovation online.

“ISPs are implementing traffic throttling schemes that allow them to determine when, how quickly, or even if a consumer may access certain lawful content,” the letter read. “Under these schemes, ISPs have blocked consumers from using their computers to make phone calls, from sharing legally acquired and distributable media content, and even from accessing certain political content.”

“We were glad to see FCC Chairman [Julius] Genachowski announce plans for the FCC to codify the agency’s four Internet principles through an official rule-making process to establish clear rules of the road on what transparent network management is, and what is discrimination,” it continued.

The letter urged members of congress to support H.R. 3458, “The Internet Freedom Preservation Act.”

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2 Responses to “Consumers Union Writes Letter to Members of Congress Urging Net Neutrality”

  1. Brett Glass Says:

    How much money does Consumers Union receive, directly or indirectly, from Google and/or its executives? They expunge the names of their contributors from their tax forms, so one can’t tell.

  2. Paul Says:

    This whole net neutrality issue gets pretty sticky. Comcast’s claim is that they throttle sites (when they admit to doing so) purely to allow equal access to all users. The problem is that they do so by selectively limiting sites, not by limiting the averaged bytes per hour of the individual user. There are additional claims that they use this as a cover to steer customers away from sites they do not want people to see (competing services, or unfavorable responses to Comcast policies.) If you live in a neighborhood where there are several people downloading feature length movies all day, you have probably run into really poor network performance. Yet, you pay the same rate for occasional (or at least more traditional) surfing. Maybe what we need is to allow the ISPs to base service prices both based on access speed (as they do now), and on unthrottled peak download per hour. In this model, once a user hits their hourly limit, the ISP can throttle their speed back to a predetermined rate that is lower than their purchased speed. This would allow the ISP to distribute access more fairly, but would also allow for more money to develop the network if the users decide they want a higher monthly data allotment.

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