|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Monday, October 29, 2007
Today, Net Neutrality became a presidential campaign issue when Senator Barack Obama answered an enthusiastic “Yes!” along with a thorough response to a question posed during an MTV event by a member of MoveOn.org.
"Would you make it a priority in your first year of office to re-instate Net Neutrality as the law of the land?” asked Joe Niederberger, a New Jersey small business owner. “And would you pledge to only appoint FCC commissioners that support open Internet principles like Net Neutrality?”
Net Neutrality—known as the First Amendment of the Internet—is the principle that prevents Internet providers from choosing what websites their customers can access (often based on which websites pay the most money). It was the law of the land until companies like AT&T, Verizon, and Comcast got the Bush-appointed FCC to slate it for elimination in 2005. For Net Neutrality to survive, it must be re-instated back into the law.
I I am a strong supporter of net neutrality,” said Obama. “What you've been seeing is some lobbying that says [Internet providers] should be able to be gatekeepers and able to charge different rates to different websites…so you could get much better quality from the Fox News site and you'd be getting rotten service from the mom and pop sites. And that I think destroys one of the best things about the Internet -- which is that there is this incredible equality there…as president I'm going to make sure that is the principle that my FCC commissioners are applying as we move forward.” (Full answer below.)
"Voters are looking for the type of boldness Senator Obama showed today – with his promise to reinstate Net Neutrality during his first year in office and only appoint FCC Commissioners who support Internet freedom,” said Adam Green, who leads MoveOn’s Internet freedom campaign. “MoveOn members will now ask other presidential candidates to follow Obama’s lead and make these solid promises on Net Neutrality."
Democratic candidates Obama, Biden, Clinton, Dodd, Edwards, Kucinich, and Richardson have all expressed support for Net Neutrality—as has Republican candidate Mike Huckabee. Today’s question asked Obama to make it a real priority and promise concrete steps when in office
MTV agreed to ask Obama the top-rated question submitted by a voter in the online video contest 10Questions.com. That question was submitted by MoveOn member, New Jersey small business owner, and former AT&T engineer Joe Niederberger. It streamed live at 1:30pm EST at MTV’s ChooseorLose.com and will air tonight at at 7:00pm EST on MTV.
Neiderberger and his wife Liz live in Atlantic Highlands, New Jersey and run Zumu Websites (zumu.com), which helps bring K-12 schools into the Internet age. Over 50 school districts in New Jersey use Zumu websites to connect students, parents, teachers, and administrators together through the Internet. Their clients include: Rumson, Fair Haven, Eatontown, Monmouth Regional HS, Ocean Township, West Long Branch, Keyport, Little Silver, and Union Beach.
Last year, over 1.5 million Americans and 850 organization formed the SavetheInternet.com Coalition – including MoveOn, the Christian Coalition, Gun Owners of America, Free Press, and many bloggers and small business owners. Together, they defeated a bill in Congress that would have permanently killed Net Neutrality.
Companies like AT&T, Verizon, and Comcast want be gatekeepers of communication online—fundamentally changing the Internet’s level playing field where all voices can be heard equally. Some examples of their intentions:
"The answer is yes! I am a strong supporter of net neutrality. And in case folks weren't following exactly the question I just want to make sure everybody's clear.
"Right now the speed with which and quality of your downloads or links are the same if you’re going to the CNN or Time Warner website as if you were going to barackobama.com. But what you've been seeing is some lobbying that says that the servers and portals through which you're getting information over the Internet should be able to be gatekeepers and to charge different rates to different websites and webcasts. So now what you'd have is, potentially, you could you could get much better quality from the Fox News site and you'd be getting rotten service from some mom and pop site. And that, I think, destroys one of the best things about the Internet -- which is
that there is this incredible equality there."
"And people, if you've got a good idea and get a great website -- Facebook, MySpace, Google might not have been started if you did not have a level playing field for whoever has the best idea. And I want to maintain that basic principle in how the Internet functions and as president I'm going to make sure that is the principle that my FCC commissioners are applying as we move forward."