Over the last few weeks, dozens of House members from both sides of the aisle have signed on to a lobbyist-driven letter advocating to give control of the Internet to Comcast and AT&T by preventing the FCC from protecting the Internet, broadband expansion efforts, and net neutrality. The misleading pack-of-lies letter has prompted some in Congress, Democrats and Republicans, to talk about revamping the 1996 Telecommunications Act with an eye towards giving the telecom companies and their lobbyists what they want.
Today on a conference call with bloggers, Speaker Pelosi threw cold water on those plans. Describing herself as a "big net neutrality advocate," she said that she has a hard time seeing how any legislation that guts net neutrality, the national broadband plan, or other Internet-focused priorities would get through Congress. The Speaker said:
I don’t know how many options they have unless they choose to work with Republicans, but it’s not going to be a Democratic initiative.
She added that making sure the Internet is open, free, and vibrant is a big priority for House Democrats:
Part of the innovation agenda I advocated for when I became Leader was universal broadband. 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 propserity, as a job creator, to make America healthier, smarter and an international leader.
The 74 House Democrats and 37 Republicans advocating with their lobbyist letter to hand the Internet over to Comcast are clearly out of step with these priorities. Representative Jay Inslee, on the other hand, is circulating a letter supporting the FCC’s reclassification move to protect the Internet, a move Speaker Pelosi said she also "strongly supports."
The PCCC has a petition to sign in support of Inslee’s letter, as well as a tool to contact your Representative in the House to tell them to get on board. Today, Speaker Pelosi spoke about the need to educate Representatives on why this is so important, so get to it! Pick up the phone and call, and tell your elected official that you want the Internet protected from greedy corporations.