12.08.2008 09:20 AM
Groups urge Obama to give ‘net neutrality’ top priority

Advocates of net neutrality rules in the United States last week urged President-elect Barack Obama to act quickly on his promise to stop broadband providers from blocking or impairing access to Internet content.

The Open Internet Coalition asked Obama to establish net neutrality rules and to appoint a new FCC chairman who will enforce net neutrality rules and champion broadband competition. In addition, Obama should appoint leaders at the Federal Trade Commission and Department of Justice who will promote an open Internet through antitrust and consumer-protection laws.

Obama should put key staff in place at the new office of U.S. chief technology officer and the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative to promote open Internet ideals both in the United States and overseas, the groups urged.

“Providing affordable, accessible, high-speed Internet to all Americans is part of the economic recovery,” said Markham Erickson, director of the coalition.

Coalition members said they’re encouraged that Obama talked about keeping the Internet open in a tech policy paper released more than a year ago. However, they acknowledged a major fight ahead with large broadband providers, who question the need for net neutrality laws.

Free Press, an advocacy group, placed ads in several newspapers last week seeking a new FCC chairman to “champion open Internet, universal broadband and diverse media ownership.”

The group recently released its “2009 Media & Tech Priorities: A Public Interest Agenda,” a technology blueprint for the new administration. It can be downloaded at http://www.freepress.net/files/2009techpolicy.pdf/.

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