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My letter to Senate Committee on Net Neutrality asking: Why now? Why worsen recession?

Below is the full text of the letter I sent to all members of the Senate Commerce Committee and the Senate leadership questioning why of all times -- now -- for pushing net neutrality?

April 22, 2008

The Honorable Daniel K. Inouye

722 Hart Senate Office Building

Washington, DC 20510-1102

ATTN: Telecom Legislative Assistant

Dear Chairman Inouye:

How many times must Congress debate "net neutrality" before it realizes that there is no real problem to address? In the two years this issue has been before Congress, the Internet has flourished and hasn’t needed "saving." None of the handful of alleged net neutrality incidents that activists consider problems -- are without very legitimate consumer-protection explanations. Moreover, these alleged incidents represent an infinitesimal amount of Internet traffic, the literally billions of communications that the thousands of American ISPs deliver weekly without problems.

Succinctly, there are two key political questions for the Senate Commerce Committee to consider:

1. Is net neutrality a mainstream issue worthy of legislation?

    1. See my attached one-pager: "Why Net Neutrality is Not a Mainstream Issue," for an explanation why net neutrality is really a fringe issue and a factional business dispute. It also explains why net neutrality is neither sound Democratic public policy nor sound Republican public policy.

  2. 2. Why legislate now?

      1. Why preemptively regulate the Internet economy during an economic recession?
      2. Why risk worsening the recession with economic unintended consequences?
      3. Why threaten jobs and job creation in a relatively healthy part of the economy?
      4. Why discourage broadband deployment to all Americans by freezing broadband investment critical to building the needed new capacity to handle Internet video?
      5. Why impede progress toward a more green broadband economy by discouraging the positive green trend towards more broadband telecommuting?

    2. The bottom line here is that Congress has many legislative priorities that are more important, urgent, justified, ripe and legitimate, than tackling the wholesale reversal of Congress’s bipartisan and successful Internet policy: "

to preserve the vibrant and competitive free market that presently exists for the Internet…unfettered by Federal or State regulation." If it’s not broke, don’t fix it. Please see the attached one pager and visit for more information.


Scott Cleland, Chairman,