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Senate Commerce Commitee Vote A Tie! (See How They Voted)

06-28-2006

The It's Our Net Coalition issued the following statement today after the Senate Commerce Committee cast a tie vote of 11-11 on the Net Neutrality amendment introduced by Senators Olympia Snowe and Byron Dorgan:

The intense debate that resulted in a today's tie vote (11-11) on Net Neutrality clearly underscores the Senate Commcerce Committee's discomfort with abandoning rules that until now have ensured an open, innovative and competitive Internet marketplace. Senators Olympia Snowe (R-ME) and Bryon Dorgan (D-ND) have been unfailing champions for Internet users across America, and we thank them for their understanding and dedication to an Internet without discrimination.

The issue of Net Neutrality will not go away. Over the past several months, a groundswell of grassroots concern has emerged from a broad spectrum of right-left organizations, consumer and public interest groups, Internet companies, educational institutions, trade associations, innovators, venture capitalists, and family and religious groups. Their voices will only grow louder as more Americans learn what is at stake.

We strongly urge Members of the Senate to not take up the overall telecom bill unless and until strong Net Neutrality provisions are included. We are confident that Congress will ultimately do the right thing for consumers, competition and the future of the Internet by ensuring that Net Neutrality prevails and that the Internet remains the remarkable open marketplace for ideas and innovation that it is today.

How the Senate Commerce Committee voted on Net Neutrality: 11-11

Republicans
Chairman Ted Stevens (AK) -- No

John McCain (AZ) -- No

Conrad Burns (MT) -- No

Trent Lott (MS) -- No

Kay Bailey Hutchison (TX) -- No

Olympia J. Snowe (ME) -- YES

Gordon H. Smith (OR) -- No

John Ensign (NV) -- No

George Allen (VA) -- No

John E. Sununu (NH) -- No

Jim DeMint (SC) -- No

David Vitter (LA) -- No

Democrats

Co-Chairman Daniel K. Inouye (HI) – YES

John D. Rockefeller (WV) – YES

John F. Kerry (MA) – YES

Byron L. Dorgan (ND) – YES

Barbara Boxer (CA) – YES

Bill Nelson (FL) – YES

Maria Cantwell (WA) – YES

Frank R. Lautenberg (NJ) – YES

E. Benjamin Nelson (NE) – YES

Mark Pryor (AR) -- YES

How the Senate Commerce Committee voted on final passage of the communications bill: 15-7

Republicans

Chairman Ted Stevens (AK) – YES

John McCain (AZ) – YES

Conrad Burns (MT) – YES

Trent Lott (MS) – YES

Kay Bailey Hutchison (TX) – YES

Olympia J. Snowe (ME) – YES

Gordon H. Smith (OR) – YES

John Ensign (NV) – YES

George Allen (VA) – YES

John E. Sununu (NH) – YES

Jim DeMint (SC) – YES

David Vitter (LA) – YES

Democrats

Co-Chairman Daniel K. Inouye (HI) – YES

John D. Rockefeller (WV) – No

John F. Kerry (MA) – No

Byron L. Dorgan (ND) – No

Barbara Boxer (CA) – No

Bill Nelson (FL) – No

Maria Cantwell (WA) – No

Frank R. Lautenberg (NJ) – No

E. Benjamin Nelson (NE) – YES

Mark Pryor (AR) – YES

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Consumer choice always assured by regulatory safeguards

Tue Jun 27, 2006 at 08:39:13

NetMyth: The Internet has never been regulated.

NetFact: Until FCC decisions made last summer, consumers’ ability to choose the content and services they want via their broadband connections had always been assured by regulatory safeguards.

In the zone of governmental noninterference that has surrounded the Internet, there has always been one fundamental exception: from the Internet's inception, it has always operated under minimal non-discrimination requirements for the so-called last mile to consumers. Developed by the FCC over a decade before the commercial advent of the Internet, these rules required that the underlying providers of last-mile network facilities – the incumbent local telephone companies – allow end users to access Internet content and services of their choosing, and utilize any device they desired - without interference from the network operator.

These consumer safeguards allowed the Internet itself to remain as open and “unregulated” as was designed originally. This open platform became the heart and soul of the Internet. It is hard to imagine the innovation and creativity of the commercial Internet ever occurring in the 1990s without those minimal but necessary market safeguards already in place. By removing any possibility of interference or discrimination from the network provider this policy paved the way for an explosion in what some have called “innovation without permission.” We witnessed the products of fertile minds like Tim Berners-Lee with the World Wide Web, and Yair Goldfinger with Instant Messaging, and David Filo and Jerry Yang with Yahoo!, and Jeff Bezos with Amazon. And we all have benefited enormously from their myriad inventions.

Net Neutrality Matters. Protect the Open Internet.

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Internet companies collectively pay billions of dollars per year to network operators

Tue Jun 27, 2006 at 08:36:28

NetMyth: Internet companies are "free riders"

NetFact: Internet companies collectively pay billions of dollars per year to network operators for Internet connectivity and transport. That money fully compensates the network operators for their network investment. The Internet companies separately spend billions of dollars more for Internet backbone capacity, much of which goes to the telephone companies as well, now the Internet backbone market has also been consolidated due to the Bell mergers with AT&T; and MCI.

Overall, the four Bell companies alone make some 14 billion dollars annually in revenues from selling special access services to Internet content and applications companies, Internet service providers, and other corporate and institutional users of the local network. FCC figures show that this is a highly lucrative business, with returns over 50 percent. All of this return is in addition to the 20 billion dollars a year in fees that subscribers pay network operators for broadband access to the Internet.

* Remember: The reason why consumers spend all that money for broadband access is to reach the rich and compelling content, applications and services that Internet companies spend billions of dollars to create, develop and deploy.

Net Neutrality Matters. Protect the Open Internet.

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Without Net Neutrality, the bucks go right to the big network operators.

Tue Jun 27, 2006 at 08:29:01

Net Myth: Net Neutrality means passing the buck to consumers.

Net Fact: Without Net Neutrality, the bucks go right to the big network operators. But don't listen to us. Listen to the guy who created the Web, Tim Berners-Lee.

To watch Tim Berners-Lee’s video, visit web.mit.edu/webcast/mit-berners-lee-net-neutrality-blogs-220k.ram.

Net Neutrality Matters. Protect the Open Internet.

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Don't be fooled by claims of "compromise".

06-27-2006

Net Myth: New Stevens’ draft offers "deal" on Net Neutrality.

Net Fact: Don't be fooled by claims of "compromise". This latest Senate draft may be dressed up in a new outfit. But underneath, the language remains the Internet Bill of Wrongs instead of an Internet Bill of Rights that Internet users deserve.

The new bill does nothing to prevent the network operators from creating a two-tiered, pay-to-play Internet and does nothing to protect American Internet users and small businesses from discrimination at the hands of the network operators.

The Internet still ends up split into Lexus lanes and dirt roads, and an FCC rendered powerless to protect American consumers.

Net Neutrality Matters. Protect the Open Internet.

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