Good news for the telecom/cable internet special interests, bad news for regular people like you and me: last night as Tom DeLay gave his swan song in the Senate, the House passed the COPE Act without any net neutrality provisions, and voted down the Markey Amendment (net neutrality provisions) by a count of 269 to 152.
WASHINGTON — June 8, 2005 — Following the passage of the Communications Opportunity, Promotion and Enhancement Act , Free Press cofounder Robert W. McChesney issued the following statement on behalf of the http://www.savetheinternet.com coalition:
“Passage of major telecom legislation without enforceable Net Neutrality is a low point in the history of US policymaking. The telephone-cable Internet duopoly providers deluged Congress with an army of lobbyists, countless millions spent on misleading PR spin and outright lies, and a single-minded determination to put their bottom line ahead of the democratic principles of an open, neutral Internet.
“If we lose Net Neutrality, we lose the most promising method for regular people to access and provide diverse and independent news, information and entertainment. We will see the Internet become like cable TV: a handful of massive companies will decide what you can see and how much it will cost. Gone will be the entrepreneurship and innovation that has made the Internet the most important cultural and economic engine of our times.
“The Senate cannot ignore the massive right-left coalition of Americans that have unified behind Net Neutrality: over 750,000 individuals, nearly every consumer group, the Internet’s founders, and a rapidly growing coalition of nearly every industry that relies on the Internet.
“In the past two months, net neutrality has gone from little-known tech jargon to the most contentious issue in the COPE Act. The hundreds of thousands of Americans who signed the SaveTheInternet.com petition, added the coalition to their MySpace accounts, voted pro-net neutrality videos to the front page of YouTube.com and called their Members of Congress represent the tweak of the tiger’s tail. The House vote is a pyrrhic victory for the telecom lobby. Momentum to defend net neutrality will only grow as Americans realize that the threat to internet freedom is real. Senators can expect to hear their constituents loud and clear on their responsibility to protect net neutrality and we will be watching closely to make sure they listen.”
Both Kennedy and Langevin supported the COPE act without net neutrality provisions. However, both Langevin and Kennedy supported the separate Markey Amendment (net neutrality provisions).
This is beyond sad. More needs to be done to bring our Democratic legislators up to speed on how this legislation favors the Goliaths and will squash the Davids of the internet.