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Letter to Chairman Inouye and Ranking Member Cochran

Senators John Kerry (D-Mass.), Chairman of the Subcommittee on Communications, Technology, and the Internet, and John D. (Jay) Rockefeller IV (D-W.Va.), Chairman of the Commerce Committee, along with eight senior Committee members, today opposed efforts to cut funding to secure an open Internet.

In a letter to the Chairman and Ranking Member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, Kerry and his colleagues opposed any appropriations rider or other action that would deny the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) the funds or ability to implement network neutrality ground rules for the nation's broadband infrastructure approved last year.

The House of Representatives recently voted to defund the FCC's ability to put those rules into effect.

"The final network neutrality rules are built on principles everyone should support--promoting transparency of broadband service operations; preventing blocking of legal content and websites; and prohibiting discrimination of individuals, applications, and other websites," the Senators wrote. "Some members of Congress have decided that they know better what is good for the Internet than the people who use, fund, and work on it. We side with the agency of expertise and supporters of the rule and urge you to reject any proposals that will prevent the FCC from implementing or enforcing its net neutrality rules."

Senators Al Franken (D-Minn.), Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.), Tom Udall (D-N.M.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Mark Udall (D-Colo.), Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), Bernard Sanders (I-Vt.), and Mark Begich (D-Alaska) joined Kerry and Rockefeller in their letter to Chairman Daniel Inouye (D-Hawaii) and Ranking Member Thad Cochran (R-Miss.)

Dear Chairman Inouye and Ranking Member Cochran:

The House Appropriations Financial Services and General Government Subcommittee has included language in its funding bill for 2012 barring the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) from using any funds to put into effect the Open Internet rules it approved last year. We write to you to renew our objection as a matter of both policy and process to any similar effort in the Senate.

Congress created the FCC in 1934 and reaffirmed in 1996 that the agency's mandate is to provide all Americans with fair and equitable access to communications over wire and airwaves.

Consistent with those values and that mandate, the FCC approved an order to establish network neutrality ground rules for our nation's broadband infrastructure. Those rules, which are in the public interest, establish guidelines for how telephone and cable companies can treat information that travels over their wires and connects Americans to the Internet and each other.

The final network neutrality rules are built on principles everyone should support--promoting transparency of broadband service operations; preventing blocking of legal content and websites; and prohibiting discrimination of individuals, applications, and other websites. In the wake of the order, a host of companies, venture capitalists, and hundreds of thousands of users of the Internet expressed their approval. Opponents of the rule predicted that we would see a decline in investment in broadband infrastructure because of the agency's defense of the open Internet. In the intervening months, investment in infrastructure has continued to grow and innovative firms are developing and providing services over the Internet free from discrimination. The predictions of opponents have fallen flat.

Some members of Congress have decided that they know better what is good for the Internet than the people who use, fund, and work on it. We side with the agency of expertise and supporters of the rule and urge you to reject any proposals that will prevent the FCC from implementing or enforcing its net neutrality rules.

Sincerely,

John Kerry Jay Rockefeller

U.S. Senator U.S. Senator

Al Franken Maria Cantwell

U.S. Senator U.S. Senator

Tom Udall Richard Blumenthal

U.S. Senator U.S. Senator

Mark Udall Ron Wyden

U.S. Senator U.S. Senator

Bernard Sanders Mark Begich

U.S. Senator U.S. Senator


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