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May 1, 2006
Members of the 109th Congress
U.S. House of Representatives
Washington, DC 20515
Recently, MoveOn.org sent a message to hundreds of thousands of individuals who share the extreme ideology of the organization’s founders and supporters. MoveOn is asking recipients of the e-mail to sign a petition and to call their members of Congress and demand that they support efforts by Massachusetts Congressman Ed Markey and others to pass legislation that would begin government regulation of the Internet – the last modern day frontier for innovation, technological advancement, and job creation.
The legislation is deceptively named “Net Neutrality.” However, the only thing “neutral” about this legislation is how it will neutralize the fast pace of growth and opportunity represented by advanced communication services like high speed access. In essence, Congress is asking the consumer to move over in order to let bureaucrats drive the future of the Internet.
It is a fact that we all know too well: Once government is free to dictate price, content and speed for the Internet, Congress will find a way to tax products, services and require providers to collect government mandated fees just for the “privilege” of using the technology. While supporters of Net Neutrality legislation argue their position with no basis of fact – a solution in search of a problem – history has taught us well that when the government attempts to regulate commerce, it is the consumer who ultimately pays.
Consider the March 14, 2006 testimony given by senior investment analyst Craig Moffett of Bernstein Research, a highly respected Wall Street investment research firm:
“But the notion of ‘Net Neutrality’ as it is currently construed would, I believe, likely trigger a host of unintended consequences. Mandated ‘Net Neutrality’ would further sour Wall Street’s taste for broadband infrastructure investments, making it increasingly difficult to sustain the necessary capital investments.
“It would also likely mean that consumers alone would be required to foot the bill for whatever future network investments that do get made. That would result in much higher end-user prices, much steeper subsidies of heavy users by occasional ones, and, in all likelihood, a much sharper ‘digital divide.’
“The United States as a whole would, in all likelihood, fall further behind other countries in broadband availability and reliability.”
Regulating the Internet today is no different than if Congress passed laws aimed at limiting the horsepower, engine design, and cost of Henry Ford’s Model A at the turn of the century out of concern that future car manufacturers might be unfairly impacted by Ford’s work. Regulations like that wouldn’t have made sense then – it certainly doesn’t make sense now.
We encourage members of Congress to ignore the cries of Luddites who want us to believe that “the sky is falling” and to pass fear driven – not fact based – laws regulating the Internet. We urge support for those who know that an Internet free of regulation will clearly and unambiguously deliver the advanced services and technologies that consumers want and deserve at a cost they can afford.
Matt Kibbe John Berthoud
President & CEO, FreedomWorks President, National Taxpayers Union
Grover Norquist Tom Readmond
President Executive Director
Americans for Tax Reform Media Freedom Project
Jeffrey Mazzella Tim Philips
Center for Individual Freedom Americans for Prosperity
E. O'Brien Murray Dr. Don Racheter
Executive Director President
Free Enterprise Fund Iowa Association of Scholars
George Landrith Jason Wright
Frontiers of Freedom Institute for Liberty
Bill Becker Chuck Muth
President and Chief Executive Officer President
The Maine Heritage Policy Center Citizen Outreach
Richard O. Rowland
Grassroot Institute of Hawaii
CC: Speaker, J. Dennis Hastert
Majority Leader, John A. Boehner
Majority Whip, Roy Blunt