The fight for Internet Freedom took a major step in the right direction yesterday.
A bipartisan majority on the House Judiciary Committee passed the "Internet Freedom and Nondiscrimination Act" -- a good bill that would protect Network Neutrality and prohibit large phone and cable companies from turning the Internet into their private domain.
Yesterday's vote is a milestone in our campaign. It would have been unthinkable just four weeks ago -- when we lost a vote on Net Neutrality in the House Energy and Commerce Committee.
In the weeks since that first vote, we have ignited a prairie fire across America. And Washington is beginning to feel the heat:
* More than 700 groups from all 50 states are now a part of the SavetheInternet.com Coalition - a diverse list that includes MoveOn.org, the Christian Coalition, the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), Consumers Union and the American Library Association
* A-list musicians such as REM, Moby, The Roots and the Dixie Chicks have joined the coalition with many more to be announced soon.
* Major U.S. newspapers -- including the San Jose Mercury News, New York Times, San Francisco Chronicle, Seattle Times and Houston Chronicle -- have written editorials supporting our position.
* More than 5,000 bloggers have linked to the SavetheInternet.com Web site and blog -- urging their readers to take action on this issue.
* And yesterday, the Coalition's petition drive surpassed 750,000 signatures.
With little money and through the efforts of many, we have turned momentum against a handful of phone and cable giants that are spending untold millions of dollars to squash Internet freedom.
Through their high-priced lobbyists, slick ad campaigns and fake grassroots groups, companies like AT&T, Verizon and Comcast are trying to drown out genuine grassroots and consumer advocacy. Yesterday's vote proves, however, that our voices are being heard. But we're still far from saving Net Neutrality.
The full House will take up the bipartisan Judiciary bill in June. The Senate is also considering legislation that currently fails to protect Net Neutrality, though a bipartisan group of Senators are lining up behind an excellent bipartisan bill sponsored by Senators Olympia Snowe (R-Maine) and Byron Dorgan (D-North Dakota).
We need to continue to mobilize our resources, engage the public and put Congress on notice. I've added some links below to new information about the campaign. I'll be soon sharing some new ideas as we proceed. I welcome your feedback.
But for now, take a moment to savor this win.
Free Press Campaign Director
1. For regular updates on the campaign, read the SavetheInternet.com blog: www.savetheinternet.com/blog
2. Read our new report debunking the telco propaganda: Why Consumers Demand Internet Freedom (PDF).
3. Also yesterday, Free Press Policy Director Ben Scott testified before the Senate Commerce Committee on behalf of the coalition. Read his statement (DOC).
4. Check out the pro-Net Neutrality ad sponsored by MoveOn and the Christian Coalition: hhttp://cdn.moveon.org/content/pdfs/MoveOnChristianCoalition.pdf