Net Neutrality Defeated?

Sir Tim Berners-Lee warned against a two-tiered Internet “dark period” at the WWW2006 conference in late May, and now it appears that we are moving toward that Internet dark age. Yesterday, the US House of Representatives overwhelmingly passed the Communications, Opportunity, Promotion, and Enhancement (COPE) Act of 2006 (H.R. 5252) and rejected the Markey of Massachusetts Amendment (Net Neutrality) to the bill.

Two weeks ago, I blogged that I felt confident that my own district representative – Rep. John Linder – was in support of the Markey amendment based on the language included in his response to me: “I will keep your concerns in mind and will support legislation that ensures open and unregulated Internet access.” He even pointed to Markey’s Network Neutrality Act of 2006 (H.R. 5273). Apparently, I was misled, as his own opponent, Allan Burns, pointed out in a comment responding to my post.

As the record shows, Mr. Linder voted against the Markey amendment to H.R. 5252 and he voted in favor of the COPE Act. Why did the language in his response to me suggest he would support the Markey amendment when he fully intended to vote against it?

After passing in the House, the bill now moves to the Senate, where it can still be blocked. Please contact your senators today and tell them to vote against any bill that will kill net neutrality.

As it so happens, I’ve found that our districts have been redrawn and, while Mr. Linder will continue to run for office in this year’s elections for the 7th district, I am now in the 6th district. So, Mr. Linder will not be on my ballot. Nevertheless, I will not vote for someone who does not support the principle of net neutrality, nor will I vote for someone who blatantly misleads his constituents.

Consequently, I have looked up Tom Price’s voting records on these issues. He is the incumbant for the 6th district, and I’ve found that he voted no different than Mr. Linder. Thus, I called the campaign offices of Mr. Price’s opponent, John Konop, to find where Mr. Konop stands on net neutrality. Thankfully, I am assured that he is completely in support of the principle of net neutrality, so I will be voting for Mr. Konop in our primaries on July 18.

For more information on net neutrality:

NOTE: The geek in me finds it exciting that the House voting roll calls are distributed in XML format.