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Public Statements

Markey-Pickering Introduce Internet Freedom Preservation Act

Press Release

Location: Washington, DC


HR5353 to establish national broadband policy and to direct an FCC study

Last night, Congressman Ed Markey (D-Massachusetts) and Congressman Chip Pickering (R-Mississippi) introduced the Internet Freedom Preservation Act of 2008 (HR5353) to establish a national broadband policy and to direct the Federal Communications Commission to conduct a study on internet freedom and openness. Markey is the sponsor of this bill and Pickering is the lead Republican cosponsor.

"The global leadership in high technology the United States provides stems directly from historic policies that have ensured that telecommunications networks are open for all lawful uses and to all users. I want to thank Rep. Pickering for working with me on this important initiative," said Rep. Edward J. Markey, chairman of the House Subcommittee on Telecommunications and the Internet.

"Unreasonable discrimination by internet providers is not currently a widespread problem, and isolated abuses have been addressed by the marketplace and the FCC. But we want to make certain that markets continue to evolve and maintain openness, and that internet freedom drives investment, innovation, and competition," Pickering said. He continued, "This will allow the market to grow as the industry voluntarily maintains these freedoms, while providing oversight and accountability for maintaining openness and competitive choice. I'm glad to work with Rep. Markey on this significant measure."

This Internet Freedom Preservation Act establishes a broad, reasonable and flexible broadband policy that compliments the existing communications policy of the United States. The policy reflects consumer expectations and voluntarily accepted principles by the telecommunications industry that encourage broadband deployment and preserve and promote the open and interconnected nature of the public internet.

"We need to seek solutions like this one that expand freedom, competition, and consumer choice rather than go down the road of unnecessary internet regulation, while still providing a public process of accountability that ensures continued internet openness and freedom," Pickering said. He continued, "This measure seeks to ensure future generations of internet users will have access to the same open internet we currently use today. It recognizes the importance of the internet to our society's economy, communication, entertainment, and quality of life."

The measure requires the FCC to commence a study within 90 days of enactment to examine the current broadband marketplace and consumer rights. The study includes eight public summits conducted by the FCC within a year. After the completion of these public meetings, the FCC must report to Congress within 90 days with the results of the assessment, a summary of the public summits, and recommendations.

Pickering said, "This study is a good way to have broad public comment, provide a meaningful and productive debate, and reach out to both consumers and industry across the country. The FCC's recommendations will help Congress further promote openness, innovation, and competition in the marketplace."

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