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WASHINGTON -- 28 major U.S. consumer and public interest groups, including Free Press, signed on today to a letter to Federal Communications Commission Chair Julius Genachowski in support of stronger Net Neutrality rules. The FCC is releasing proposed new rules at a meeting on Thursday.

Craig Aaron, senior program director at Free Press, made the following statement:

"The fight for Net Neutrality is often mistakenly portrayed as a clash of corporate interests. That's simply not the case. Certain companies may oppose Net Neutrality or sow unfounded fears about what the FCC is doing, but consumer groups and public advocates are united in their support for an open Internet. The FCC should not be deterred by the phone and cable industry’s attempts to muddy this debate with myths, misdirection and manufactured outrage. We need strong and clear Net Neutrality rules now to safeguard the Internet’s future."

Read the letter here:

Full Text of the Letter

The Honorable Julius Genachowski
Federal Communications Commission
445 12th Street, SW
Washington, DC 20554

Dear Chairman Genachowski:

The undersigned public interest groups write to express our strong support for your recent announcement that the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) will begin a public proceeding that will ensure an open and nondiscriminatory Internet.

Since its creation, the Internet was intended to be a medium controlled by users, not by network access providers. As a result, it has become the most democratic medium this country, and the world, has ever known. The power that an open Internet vests in individuals has resulted in an unprecedented surge in creativity, innovation, and civic discourse. The open Internet has generated billions of dollars in investment, by network operators and Web-based companies, opening up new opportunities for consumers while creating thousands of jobs.

Since 2005, the future of an open Internet has been unclear. We wholeheartedly support your effort to bring certainty to network providers, applications and service providers and the public through rules that will ensure that the FCC can preserve an open and nondiscriminatory Internet.

Over the past two weeks, the largest telephone and cable companies have launched an intense lobbying campaign to oppose meaningful rules using dire yet vague predictions of doom if the FCC acts to preserve the Internet’s traditional openness. This outcry over a proposal the public has yet to see is clearly intended to halt the dialogue over the proper rules of the road for an open Internet before it even starts.

We urge you to continue with the process you have set out. We are also encouraged by the Administration’s statement this weekend about the importance of an open Internet. We believe this will best serve the public. So far, 1.6 million Americans have spoken they do not want the Internet to become just another closed network where large media entities pick winners and losers, like broadcasting and cable. We are confident that even more Americans will rally to the cause in the months ahead.

You have dedicated your Chairmanship to guaranteeing that the public’s needs are served first. As representatives of the public in the nation’s capital and throughout the United States, we applaud the FCC for beginning a process that seeks to ensure that users will continue to reap the benefits of an open Internet.

Respectfully submitted,

Helen Soule
Executive Director
Alliance for Community Media

Michael McLeod-Bell
Acting Director, Washington Office
American Civil Liberties Union

Lynne E. Bradley, Director
Office of Government Relations
American Library Association

Prudence Adler
Associate Executive Director
Federal Relations and Information Policy
Association of Research

Charles Benton
Benton Foundation

Mark Cooper
Research Director
Consumer Federation of America

Michael Bracy
Policy Director
Future of Music Coalition

Leslie Harris
President & CEO
Center for Democracy and Technology

Marc Rotenberg
Executive Director
Electronic Privacy Information Center

Brewster Kahle
Director and Co-Founder
Internet Archive

Bob Edgar
President & CEO
Common Cause

Ben Scott
Policy Director
Free Press

James Love
Knowledge Ecology International

Andrew Jay Schwartzman
President and CEO
Media Access Project

Michael Calabrese
Vice President and Director of Wireless Future Program
New America Foundation

Matthew R. Rantanen
Director of Technology
Tribal Digital Village

Beth McConnell
Executive Director
Media and Democracy Coalition

Sascha Meinrath
Director Open Technology Initiative
New America Foundation

Cheryl Leanza
Policy Director
United Church of Christ, Office of Communication, Inc.

Helen DeMichiel
National Alliance for Media, Arts and Culture

Gigi B. Sohn
President & Co-Founder
Public Knowledge

Edmund Mierzwinski
Consumer Program Director and Senior Fellow

Carol Pierson
President and CEO
National Federation of Community Broadcasters

Douglas Newcomb
Chief Policy Officer
Special Libraries Association

John Kosinski
Political Director
Writers Guild of America, West


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