WASHINGTON, June 9, 2010 – Last week 40 house members, mostly from rural districts, said that they no longer supported the national broadband plan on the grounds that it didn’t help enough Americans. Some of these individuals went so far as to claim they would seek to stop funding for broadband-related initiative.
However, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif. said that she wanted to ensure that the Federal Communications Commission had the lee-way to promote its broadband plan, and its proposal for ensuring that the Internet remains a neutral network.
“Part of the innovation agenda I advocated for when I became Leader was universal broadband,” she said. “We had hoped to get it done within five years. We just got the bill passed three years ago under President Bush, but we had no funding.
“Now we want to have the resources to take us to that place so we don’t have a disparity between urban and rural populations. Reclassification, net neutrality, universal access for every American, these are priorities for us. And we see it not in isolation but as part of a new prosperity, as a job creator, to make America healthier, smarter and an international leader.”
Speaker Pelosi’s comments were echoed by her colleague, House Subcommittee on Communications, Technology and the Internet member, Rep. Ed Markey, D-Mass.: “[I will] continue to work with my colleagues in Congress to provide the Commission any additional authority it may need to ensure the openness of the Internet for consumers, innovators and investors through passage of H.R. 3458, the Internet Freedom Preservation Act, which I introduced last July with my colleagues Anna Eshoo, D-Calif., and Henry Waxman, D-Calif.”
Referring to the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals decision about Comcast’s blocking BitTorrent traffic, he said, “Clearly, the Court’s decision must not be the final word on this vitally important matter, and I intend to work vigorously to ensure an open Internet for generations to come.”
Meanwhile, Senate Commerce Committee chair Jay Rockefeller, D-W.V., and Waxman, Chair of the House Energy and Commerce Committee said: ”We believe that is essential for the [FCC] to have oversight over these aspects of broadband policy, because they are vitally important to consumers and our growing digital economy. For this reason, in the near term, we want the agency to use all of its existing authority to protect consumers and pursue the broad objectives of the National Broadband Plan.”