A Call to Senator Barbara Boxer
June 13th, 2007

The following is excerpted from an email being circulated today to enlist support for a statement from Senator Barbara Boxer backing keeping the Internet open. It describes a call you can make today that would be meaningful:

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) will decide this month how to use a huge chunk of our public airwaves. Last week, a stunning 250,000 Americans urged the FCC to use these airwaves to revolutionize Internet access in our country.

Modern-day innovators are ready to create a vibrant national wireless market–with high-speed Internet signals beamed to every park bench, coffee shop, workplace, and home in America. But big phone and cable companies don’t want this competition to their Internet service. They want

This Thursday, Senator Barbara Boxer has a key role to play in this fight. She sits on the Senate Commerce Committee, which will hold major hearings on this exact issue. We need her to use these hearings to send a strong public message to the FCC commissioners–who will definitely be watching.

Can you call Senator Boxer today about Thursday’s hearing? Ask her to publicly demand that the FCC support “open networks” on our public airwaves and protect our airwaves from corporations like AT&T, Verizon, and Comcast who want to stifle competition and innovation in the wireless market.

Senator Barbara Boxer
Phone: 202-224-3553

Here is an excerpt, explaining what we are asking the FCC to do:

First, ensure new competition. Big phone and cable companies who have spent years laying wires in the ground have every incentive to stifle the growth of a competitive high-speed wireless market. Therefore, if America wants to bring high-speed wireless Internet to every community, the FCC needs to ensure that a significant portion of the newly available airwaves go to new market competitors. Such rules prohibiting incumbents from stifling competition and innovation in the marketplace have been used in the past, and numerous approaches can be used to achieve this goal.

Second, ensure “open networks.” The FCC must set the terms of the auction so that whoever wins is prohibited from stifling innovation. For instance, wireless Internet providers must not be allowed to play gatekeeper over which websites their customers can access online–a power that phone companies exert right now to prevent handheld wireless customers from accessing Internet-based phone service. Wireless Net Neutrality will let the market decide which web-based services thrive instead of self-interested gatekeepers.

Also part of “open networks,” the auction winners must not be allowed to blacklist new technology from entering the market. Companies must give consumers the right to attach any safe device to their own devices–the equivalent of the FCC’s landmark 1968 Carterfone decision, mandating that phone companies let customers attach an answering machine to their landline phone. (Indeed, this “right to attach” paved the way for the dial-up modem, which sparked the Internet revolution.)

Your call to Senator Boxer today will make a big difference.

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