Coalition Letter to House Rules in Support of Net Neutrality

June 6, 2006

Coalition Letter to House Rules Committee in Support of Net Neutrality

U.S. House of Representatives

Committee on Rules

H-312 The Capitol

Washington, DC 20515

Dear Chairman Dreier:

More than a million Americans have voiced their support for network neutrality, the principle that preserves the free and open Internet. We urge you to allow language that protects meaningful network neutrality to be considered on the House floor as an amendment to the Communications Opportunity, Promotion and Enhancement Act (H.R. 5252, also known as "COPE"), when the bill is considered in your Committee this week. The issue has the bipartisan support of leaders in the House Judiciary and Energy & Commerce Committees.

The Coalition believes that adding network neutrality to H.R. 5252 is the best opportunity to protect innovation and growth on the Internet. Our coalition is comprised of more than 750 groups from across the political spectrum - ranging from the Christian Coalition to the Consumers Union. Later this week, we will present Congress with more than a million petitions signed by Americans who support net neutrality and want Congress to pass the strongest net neutrality legislation.

If Congress passes the H.R. 5252 as it stands, there will be no laws guaranteeing consumers' right to the online content of their choice for the first time in the history of the Internet. Instead, network owners will be permitted to decide for consumers what content they can see and set up "tiers" that discriminate between different Internet content and services. The COPE Act's current net neutrality provisions are inadequate to safeguard the Internet, deliberately impede clear enforcement mechanisms, and leave the network operators free to discriminate against consumers and producers on the Internet.

From its beginnings, the Internet was built on a cooperative, democratic ideal. It has leveled the playing field for all. Net Neutrality has prevented gatekeepers from blocking or discriminating against new economic, political and social ideas and services. Meaningful network neutrality protections would allow those principles to remain in place so that the Internet can continue to be an engine for economic growth and democratic discourse, and we urge you to allow a strong net neutrality amendment to H.R. 5252.


Chellie Pingree, President and CEO

Common Cause

Lynne Bradley, Director, Office of Government Relations

American Library Association

Josh Silver, Executive Director

Free Press

Jeannine Kenney, Senior Policy Analyst

Consumers Union

Mark Cooper, Director of Research

Consumer Federation Association

The Rev. Robert Chase, Executive Director

Office of Communication of the United Church of Christ, Inc.

Gigi Sohn, President and Co-Founder

Public Knowledge

Ed Mierzwinski, Consumer Program Director

U.S. PIRG, National Association of State PIRGs

Andrew J. Schwartzman, President and CEO

Media Access Project

Jenny Toomey, Executive Director

Future of Music Coalition

Jeff Perlstein, Executive Director

Media Alliance

Anthony Riddle, Executive Director

Alliance for Community Media

Jonathan Lawson, Executive Director

Reclaim the Media

Michael Kieschnick, President

Working Assets

Gary Bachula, Vice President for External Relations


Linda Sherry, Director of National Priorities

Consumer Action

Mark Luker, Vice President for Federal Policy


Craig Newmark, Customer Service Rep and Founder


David Heimer, Chief Operating Officer

Service Roundtable

Sascha Meinrath, Founder

Champaign Urbana Community Wireless Network

Micah Sifry, Executive Editor

Personal Democracy Forum

Lauren-Glenn Davitian, Founder and Executive Director

CCTV Center for Media and Democracy

Jonathan Rintels, Executive Director

Center for Creative Voices in Media

Angela Stuber, Executive Director

Ohio Community Computing Network

Christopher Rabb, Founder & Chief Evangelist


James Rucker, Executive Director

David S. Isenberg, Founder, LLC

Julie Davids, Executive Director

Community HIV/AIDS Mobilization Project

Dana Spiegel, Executive Director


Michael Maranda, President

Association for Community Networking

Jon Newton, Founder/editor


Manon Ress, Director

Consumer Project on Technology

Doug Riley, Executive Director

Kansas City Anti-Violence Project

Stan Karp, Editor

Rethinking Schools

Mitchell Szczepanczyk, Organizer

Chicago Media Action

cc: Members of the House Committee on Rules

Speaker Dennis Hastert

Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi

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