Control Of The Internet Must Remain With Users

Last week, the House Judiciary Committee passed H.R. 5417, the "Internet Freedom and Nondiscrimination Act of 2006," which I introduced with Committee Chairman Jim Sensenbrenner, Ranking Member John Conyers and Rep. Rick Boucher. This is the first bill with real protections for net neutrality that has passed any committee in Congress and I am proud to be a part of it.

The bill requires broadband providers to operate their networks in a non-discriminatory manner and makes sure that the phone and cable companies cannot favor or block access to the Web sites or online services that they pick instead of the consumer. It will keep the Internet an open and free marketplace of ideas and services chosen by consumers instead of big corporations. It will also guard against "the pipes" gleaning profits by creating a virtual toll road.

H.R. 5417 was introduced by a bipartisan coalition from the Judiciary Committee and passed out of the Committee by a vote of 20-13-1. 14 Democrats and 6 Republicans voted in favor of it and 13 Republicans voted against it. 1 Democrat voted present.

The Internet has revolutionized the way Americans communicate with one another and do business. It's only right to keep that revolution where it belongs - in the hands of net users instead of the phone and cable companies.