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More than 80 Groups Sign Letter to FCC Demanding Real Net Neutrality

Letter Identifies Five Key Problems with FCC Proposal that Must Be Fixed

than 80 grassroots organizations, consumer groups, civil rights
organizations, innovative businesses, technology experts and public
interest advocates filed a letter with the Federal Communications
Commission on Friday, signaling broad support for strong Network
Neutrality rules. The letter highlighted five key areas in which rules
proposed by FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski must be improved to protect
the free and open Internet. The Commission is slated to vote on Net
Neutrality on Dec. 21.

The signers include Free Press, New America Foundation, Media Access
Project, Reporters without Borders, Daily Kos, Common Cause,
Entertainment Consumers Association, Nonprofit Technology Network,, Center for Media Justice, National Hispanic Media
Coalition and Public Knowledge.

"A tremendously diverse array of organizations and constituencies
have come together to tell the FCC that we want real consumer
protections and Internet Freedom," said Sascha Meinrath,
director of New America Foundation's Open Technology Initiative. "This
is a make-or-break issue, and the signatories on this letter are
unequivocal in their demand that fatal flaws with Chairman Genachowski's
draft proposal be fixed immediately."

The letter filed today outlines the key elements of real Net
Neutrality apparently missing from the FCC’s proposal, and calls on the
Commission to make sure each is included.

Real Net Neutrality, the groups say, must include a ban on paid
prioritization, which would allow Internet service providers to speed up
their preferred content and services while slowing down the rest;
extending protections to wireless networks so mobile broadband providers
cannot act as gatekeepers on the mobile Web; no loopholes in key
language that would allow providers to exempt themselves from rules; and
clear rules for “specialized services” that would prevent a
pay-for-play platform that could stifle innovation and threaten the
Internet’s level playing field.

“There are several fatal flaws with Chairman Genachowski's draft
proposal that will harm the open Internet in irreversible ways if they
are not addressed by the time the agency votes on a rule,” said Free
Press Research Director S. Derek Turner. “If this
proposal is adopted as is, the FCC will send a signal to the market that
free speech and innovation on the Web require the permission of Comcast
and AT&T."

The letter also asserts that rules must be built on a sound legal
foundation and calls on the agency to restore its authority over
broadband by reclassifying it under Title II of the Communications Act.

“Some proponents of the proposed rules urge us not to let the perfect be the enemy of the good,” said Tyrone Brown,
president of Media Access Project. “But reports on the contents of the
item show that it is far from good at this point. Those ready to accept
the rules 'as-is' fail to recognize that incomplete protections founded
on unsure legal grounds cannot rationally be characterized as a good
start. Open Internet rules, and the Commission's more general authority
to implement national broadband policy goals, must rest on sound legal
authority and provide real protections for free expression and
innovation online.”

Click here to view a copy of the letter and a full list of signers:


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