From the CD to DC: taking Seattle's broadband concerns to Congress

After last month's FCC Open Internet community meetings in Seattle, Reclaim the Media and other members of the Seattle Digital Justice Coalition have been working overtime to ensure that community concerns about the future of the Internet reach the ears of our elected officials in the nation's capital.

Within days of FCC Chairman Genachowski's announcement that the FCC would reassert its authority to police net neutrality and online privacy abuses, RTM met with the offices of Sen. Maria Cantwell, Rep. Jay Inslee, and Rep. Dave Reichert, in order to share what we heard from the folks from Seattle, Olympia, Bellingham and Mt.Vernon who attended our April 27 community meeting on protecting a fair and open Internet.

That meeting, and other RTM community meetings on broadband, revealed a clear wish list for public-interest Internet policy:
• more affordable access
• equitable deployment of high-speed Internet
• real consumer choices for broadband
• level playing field for innovation
• broadband education for traditionally marginalized communities

We shared these concerns with our elected officials, and asked them to back federal policy changes to support those goals--including supporting Genachowski's recent proposal to reclassify broadband Internet as a communications service.

Cantwell and Inslee are both strong supporters of democratic media and communications policy; we secured commitments from both offices to continue fighting hard for strengthening open Internet protections and expanding broadband access for all Americans. We specifically asked Inslee to write a letter supporting Genachowski's plan, and to circulate it among fellow Representatives. He honored that request, and that letter is here (pdf).

Our meeting with Rep. Reichert's office was a community delegation including KBCS public affairs director Joaquin Uy. While Reichert has supported net neutrality in the past, he is currently non-committal on the issue. If you live in Reichert's eastside district, consider giving him a call and let him know that you support net neutrality and strong open Internet protections.

The media's job is to interest the public in the public interest. -John Dewey