Dorgan, Snowe introduce Senate bill to protect free and open Internet

[Consumers Union/Free Press statement]

Sen. Byron Dorgan (D-N.D.) and Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-Maine) introduced the Internet Freedom Preservation Act of 2007 today, reopening the debate in Congress over Net Neutrality - the fundamental principle that prevents Internet service providers from discriminating online. The move comes less than two weeks after AT&T's concession to Net Neutrality conditions in its planned merger with BellSouth. Pledging strong support for the bill, consumer groups Free Press, Consumers Union and Consumer Federation of America made the following statements:

Ben Scott, Policy Director, Free Press
"We applaud Senators Dorgan and Snowe for reigniting the essential Net Neutrality debate on Capitol Hill. Their continuing commitment will help make competitive and affordable broadband services a central issue in the 110th Congress. Our elected officials now must act to keep the Internet free of gatekeepers who would destroy this revolutionary platform for free speech and economic innovation. The American public has an overwhelming interest in seeing this bill pass into law, ensuring that the online marketplace of ideas remains open and vibrant."

Mark Cooper, Director of Research, Consumer Federation of America
"This bill represents the appropriate next step following the Net Neutrality condition the Federal Communications Commission placed on AT&T's merger with BellSouth. The largest broadband provider in the country has committed to a clearly defined Net Neutrality condition. They've also agreed to expand their network and offer competitive prices to consumers-demonstrating that neutrality and affordable access are not mutually exclusive."

Jeannine Kenney, Senior Policy Analyst, Consumers Union
"With the leadership of Senators Dorgan and Snowe, the Congress should act swiftly to make permanent the Net Neutrality conditions of the AT&T merger and apply them to all broadband providers. This bill will help ensure that consumers will continue to enjoy the competitive and affordable services that broadband has brought them and that big telecommunications companies cannot use their networks to hinder consumers' access to those services. The legislation is the first step towards a national policy that will ensure that all consumers, not just the most affluent, have affordable access to high-speed Internet services."

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