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Save The Internet Coalition speaks out against Michigan Video Franchising Bill

November 28, 2006

At a press conference inside the Michigan State Capitol in Lansing today, members of the SavetheInternet.com Coalition spoke out against a “lame duck” vote on the "Michigan Video Franchising Bill" (HB 6456).

"It is critical to our democracy that our two most popular media outlets -- TV and the Internet -- remain diverse and robust marketplaces for ideas," said David Pettit of the Public Interest Research Group in Michigan (PIRGIM). "If this bill is allowed to go forward, it will diminish local programming and destroy today’s fair and equal Internet."

Opponents claim the "Michigan Video Franchising Bill" is an AT&T-based revision of Michigan's telecommunications laws that would allow broadband service providers to pick and choose which communities obtain high-speed broadband and video services while ignoring net neutrality.

"Consumers should benefit from full competition. What we're asking for is very simple: protect the consumer by making sure telephone and cable companies don't restrict the services that are available," said Andrew McLaughlin, Google Sr. Policy Counsel. "Google would never have grown beyond a garage project if Internet providers had been able to block or slow access by individuals. It is essential for Michigan to preserve the Internet as an unmatched platform for innovation and job creation."

"This bill would make it easy for big telecom companies to ignore Michigan’s underserved areas and ‘cherry-pick’ only the most profitable customers," added Mark Cooper, Director of Research at Consumer Federation of AmericaTo create a level playing field for all consumers, Michigan needs policies that build high-speed broadband and video networks in all communities,"

Similar protests are being organized and conducted in several other states.

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