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VON Conference Attendees Send Letter to Congress, Show Support for 'Net Neutrality

VON Conference Attendees Send Letter to Congress, Show Support for 'Net Neutrality

SAN JOSE, Calif., March 16 /PRNewswire/ -- In a groundswell of support from Internet innovators, entrepreneurs and communications companies, more than 80 companies attending the VON Conference signed a letter urging Congress to preserve the principles of 'net neutrality. The letter, signed by eBay, Craigslist, Google, BT Americas, Pac-West and Skype among many others, was sent today to Chairman Joe Barton and Rep. John Dingell of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce.

"Net Neutrality is THE hot topic at the VON Conference and will be the subject of most heated communications policy debate within the Beltway and the corridors of power throughout the world," said Jonathan Askin, general counsel of "There is no doubt the right result on Net Neutrality will shape the future of communications for decades to come and will determine whether or not we succeed in fully realizing and maximizing the value and capabilities of the open Internet."

"The VON Coalition encourages policy makers to ensure that consumers are allowed to use any device, application, or service on the Internet that they choose," said Staci Pies, president of the VON Coalition. "These basic Internet freedoms positively shaped the development of the Internet and should be carried forward to the broadband future. Indeed, the openness of the Internet has been its defining hallmark, and such openness is critical to unlocking the vast future potential of Internet communications. At the same time, consumers should not be prevented from lawfully using the bandwidth for which they pay."

"Keeping the Internet open and inter-connected is the right thing to do," said John Sumpter, vice president regulatory for Pac-West. "All network carriers should be expected to live with the rules that have allowed the Internet to succeed."

Text of the Letter: The Honorable Joe Barton Chairman Committee on Energy and Commerce U.S. House of Representatives Washington, DC 20515 The Honorable John D. Dingell Ranking Member Committee on Energy and Commerce U.S. House of Representatives Washington, DC 20515 RE: Protecting the Open and Interconnected Nature of the Internet Dear Chairman Barton, Ranking Member Dingell and Members of the Committee:

Everywhere people with a stake in the Internet economy gather, they are discussing 'net neutrality and, by an overwhelming margin, looking to Congress to steadfastly defend the Internet and preserve its open and interconnected nature. 'Net neutrality is the principle that the Internet should remain open and interconnected-free from gatekeepers over new content and services-to promote innovation, economic growth and job creation.

'Net neutrality is a historic practice that has enabled the success of the Internet. It must be re-codified as the law of the land. We are writing to you today because we believe 'net neutrality, built upon the Federal Communications Commission's four principles, is essential.

Nearly two-thirds of the public uses the Internet and a recent poll shows that more than two-thirds of the public supports 'net neutrality. The principle of nondiscrimination and open access to communications networks has been part of public policy and law for almost a century and as more of our economic and social life goes online, 'net neutrality becomes even more important.

As the capacity and bandwidth of the Internet grows, it will become the platform of choice for commercial development unmatched in our history. Just as the growth of Amazon, eBay, Yahoo and Google was not foreseeable five and ten years ago, we cannot now predict the ideas that will evolve in the next five to ten years. What we do know is that as the capacity and bandwidth grows, independent creative people will find new valuable applications, so long as they have unfettered access to that capacity. In the past 'net neutrality was embodied in laws that applied to the common carriers that underpinned the Internet. The Internet benefited from that neutrality.

Recent decisions by the Federal Communications Commission, which are under review, have eliminated for some broadband Internet services, the safeguard which protected 'net neutrality by ensuring non-discriminatory interconnection obligations between multiple competitive broadband carriers. Up till now, competitive broadband carriers allowed consumers and innovative e-commerce companies to cast their vote for 'net neutrality in the marketplace. According to Internet pioneer Vint Cerf, this safeguard "paradoxically" allowed the Internet to remain "open and 'unregulated' as originally designed."

The risks posed by the fact that today phone and cable operators together control 98 percent of the broadband market are very real. We have already seen more than glimpses into the future. VoIP blocking and Internet outages have already occurred, discriminatory web fees and the creation of a "two tier" Internet have been threatened and a future of bandwidth rationing and ubiquitous click fees is in the offing.

We are writing to advise you that outside the beltway, in the market, there are rumors that 'net neutrality will be stripped away by the House of Representative's communications policy legislation. We urge you to put this rumor to rest immediately by affirming your commitment to 'net neutrality. The dawning realization that the Internet economy-which must be measured in hundreds of billions if not trillions of dollars-has little or no legal protection against online discrimination can and will have a chilling effect on investment, innovation and ecommerce. Congress must address this growing uncertainty.

Broadband carriers are quite correct in saying that bandwidth is not free and they ought to be able to neutrally charge consumers for bandwidth usage. But in opposing 'net neutrality, carriers propose a fundamental change to the Internet economy, the consequences of which can be foreseen, based on the recent behavior of carriers.

Rights, freedoms and markets we take for granted exist within the Internet's decentralized and open architecture. We urge you to support 'net neutrality and the future promise of the Internet.

Sincerely, Acopia Networks Airespring AnalogZone Awow Communications Borsetti & Co. BT Americas, Inc. CALTEL Citysearch CommPartners Holding Company Comunicano, Inc. Corliant Cornerstone Brands, Inc. Craigslist Dagdamor Media Domania eBay Economics & Technology, Inc. Elaine P. Dine Entertainment Publications Evite Free World Dialup GetSmart Google GotVoice, Inc. Graceline Canada HSE24 HSN iFreedom Communications iNest IAC/InterActiveCorp INS InterMetro Interval International IntraISP Invens Capital, LLC IVR Technologies J. Arnold & Associates JohnnyZip Lafayette Group, Inc. Law Offices of James Tobin LendingTree Lingo, Inc. McFadden Associates MCM Telecom Microcom Miller & Van Eaton Objectworld Pac-West PointOne PRC Primus Telecommunications ReserveAmerica S & B Technical Products Savatar ServiceMagic Shelcomm Skype Sling Media SOHOlutions Sonus Capital Management Symercy Financial Corp. Techviser Telekom Austria Telephia TELLO Ticketmaster Tier 1 Research T-Mobile USA TNS VI Technologies Vivox WCW Networks FOR MORE INFORMATION VON Contact: Susan Donahue 651-283-8700 [email protected] Enterprises

CONTACT: Susan Donahue, +1-651-283-8700, or [email protected] , for Enterprises

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