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SaveTheInternet Coalition on 109th Congress Close: WHEW!

December 8, 2006

The coalition issued a statement today expressing relief about the demise of telecommunications in the outgoing Congress that failed to protect Net Neutrality.

Several stakeholders in the Coalition weighed in.

“This is a huge victory for real people, a huge defeat for entrenched corporations, and a clear signal to the next Congress that standing up for big bold ideas is a winning political proposition,” said Eli Pariser, executive director of Civic Action.

"Millions of people have used the Internet to save the Internet," added Timothy Karr, campaign director of Free Press, which coordinates the Coalition. "The end of this Congress gives us the chance to have a long overdue public conversation about what the future of the Internet should look like. It’s time to craft policies that ensure all Americans can access the Internet and enjoy the unlimited choices it has to offer."

"Consumers dodged a bullet when telephone and cable industry failed, in the end, to convince the 109th Congress to enact anti-consumer policies that would have hiked prices for cable TV and broadband and reduced consumer choice," said Jeannine Kenney, senior policy analyst at Consumers Union. "Industry will be back with their money and phony grassroots groups. But next time around, with a public now well-informed of what's at stake, we hope Congress will take up broadband policy that advances consumer -- not just industry -- needs."

Network Neutrality has been part of the Internet since its inception, ensuring that the service providers who control the "pipes" don’t interfere with content based on its ownership or source. "Net neutrality is just about fairness and a level playing field," said Craig Newmark, founder of craigslist. "It's that simple."

“The people’s attention to the issue of Net Neutrality is more powerful than any legislation - and this year proves that," added Tim Wu, a professor at Columbia University Law School and author of Who Controls the Internet.

The coalition's sentiments seem to be one of eager and optimistic anticipation about the new, Democrat-controlled Congress slated to begin January 3.

The beginning of a new Congress in January means that legislators will have to start from scratch in crafting a new telecommunications bill, with new leadership in place on key committees in both the House and Senate.

"We look forward to working with the new Congress to craft a comprehensive broadband policy that will preserve the open character of the Internet," says Gigi Sohn, founder and president of Public Knowledge. "Consumers were the winners when Congress chose not to pass legislation during the session just ending that would have given control over delivery of Internet content to the telephone and cable companies and, in addition, would have given control of consumers' use of digital media to the FCC and entertainment industries."

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