Thursday, October 12, 2006

Net neutrality letter from my State Senator.

I got an email awhile back from eBay, supporting Net Neutrality laws. They had set up a sort of email form letter that I could just sign, and they would send it on to my State Senator, Orrin Hatch, in support of Net Neutrality. I went through with it, because I'm definitely in favor, and never gave it another thought. Until I received the following letter from Orrin Hatch.

It was not sent via email, by the way, I transcribed the whole thing so I could post it. I thought it was kind of an interesting look at political formalities, and it was nice to see that our representation in Washington does actually take time to respond to us. Check it out.
September 1, 2006

Dear Mr. Curran:

Thank you for contacting me to express your support for network neutrality legislation. I appreciate hearing from you and welcome the opportunity to respond.

As you are aware, on June 28, 2006, the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee passed S. 2686 in the form of a substitute to H.R. 5252. This legislation would require the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to perform a five-year study of net neutrality issues and practices in the marketplace and report back to congress with legislative recommendations. The bill is now awaiting Senate floor consideration.

As you, I believe it is important for incumbent providers to ensure they do not and will not discriminate against consumers or consumer choices on the internet. Fostering competition and prosecuting anti-competitive practices will ensure that consumers benefit from a competitive marketplace. That is why I encouraged Senate Judiciary Chairman, Senator Arlen Specter, to hold a hearing on "Reconsidering Our Communications Laws: Ensuring Competition and Innovation" on June 14, 2006. During the course of the June hearing, several witnesses expressed concern that broadband providers will eventually exert more and more control over their networks to the detriment of consumers as well as content and application providers.

I agree with your assessment that the five-year study prescribed by S. 2686, does not go far enough to address the needs of consumers. Per your request, I will continue to work with my Senate colleagues to find a solution to the potential problems caused by market concentration in the broadband industry. I believe that an appropriate Congressional response to the network neutrality debate could protect consumers, foster innovation, and create jobs.

While I am hopeful the Federal government will not be forced to take too active a role in prescribing what can and can't be done on private networks, I believe it is important that Congress foster competitive integrity in the offering of broadband and video services.

Again, thank you for writing. Learning your thoughts and opinions is extremely helpful to me as I seek to represent you in Washington. I hope you will continue to provide me with your thoughts on the many issues confronting Congress.

Orrin G. Hatch
United States Senator

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