Letter to the House Judiciary Committee on the Internet Freedom and Nondiscrimination Act of 2006
TO THE MEMBERS OF THE HOUSE JUDICIARY COMMITTEE :
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the world's largest business federation representing more than three million businesses and organizations of every size, sector, and region, strongly urges you to vote against H.R. 5417, the Internet Freedom and Nondiscrimination Act of 2006. Existing law, regulation, and network competition adequately protect Internet users. Thus, such legislation is unnecessary and will deter new investment in broadband network infrastructure, slow the deployment of innovative technologies, leave consumers with fewer choices and higher prices, and harm the ability of the United States to compete globally.
The U.S. Chamber considers telecommunications to be the central nervous system of the U.S. economy. The Internet has succeeded because it has not been regulated. To encourage the continued growth of the Internet and e-commerce, U.S. Chamber policy calls for the federal government to refrain, to the maximum extent possible, from regulating broadband services. "Net neutrality" is government regulation of the Internet. The U.S. Chamber urges you to oppose H.R. 5417 because it will impose regulation on innovation.
The Internet is like a highway. If there are not enough lanes to handle the volume of cars, traffic jams occur. Widening the highway reduces that congestion. The same principle applies to the Internet. Information traveling on the Internet will increase 500-fold by the year 2020 as demand for multimedia applications increases. Exceptionally fast broadband networks are necessary for U.S. businesses to compete domestically and abroad. Net neutrality legislation would create regulatory barriers, deterring investment in these networks, which will ultimately hurt every American and, certainly, the nation's small businesses.
Anticipatory regulation must be rejected. The FCC's well-established net neutrality principles are working. Those principles state that consumers are entitled to access their choice of lawful Internet content and to connect their choice of legal devices that do not harm the network. There is no evidence that network providers plan to interfere with traffic from competing providers or slow down the service of some sites in favor of others. Moreover, the intense competition among broadband service providers makes discrimination highly unlikely.
The U.S. Chamber urges you to vote no on H.R. 5417.
R. Bruce Josten