Content Providers Write Congress

April 5, 2006

The Honorable Joe Barton
Committee on Energy and Commerce
U.S. House of Representatives
Washington, D.C. 20515

Dear Mr. Chairman:

We write to express our concern that the telecommunications legislation being considered by the Committee fails to preserve the longstanding openness of the Internet. Without critical changes, the legislation puts at risk consumer choice, American innovation and global competitiveness.

Until FCC decisions made last summer, consumers’ ability to choose the content and services they want via their broadband connections was assured by regulatory safeguards. Innovators likewise have been able to use their ingenuity and knowledge of the marketplace to develop new and better online offerings. This ”œinnovation without permission” has fueled phenomenal economic growth, productivity gains, and global leadership for our nation’s high tech companies.

more after the jump

To preserve this environment, we urge the Committee to include language that directly addresses broadband network operators’ ability to manipulate what consumers will see and do online. It is equally important to pass a bill that fleshes out these consumer freedoms via rules of the road that are both meaningful and readily enforceable.

We look forward to continuing to work with you and other Members of the Committee to protect millions of Americans’ legitimate expectations in an open Internet, as well as the innovation and competitiveness that it creates.


/s/ Jeff Bezos       /s/ Meg Whitman      /s/ Eric Schmidt      /s/ Barry Diller
Founder and CEO    President and CEO    Chief Executive Officer    Chairman and CEO     eBay Inc.     Google Inc.     IAC/InterActiveCorp

/s/Steve Ballmer     /s/ Terry Semel
Chief Executive Officer     Chief Executive Officer
Microsoft Corp.     Yahoo!

Cc: Members of the Energy & Commerce Committee

They look pretty darn serious to me.

Update: Paul adds: “Well written, folks. But maybe if this was important, it’s time to jump on that corporate jet and show your face in D.C.? Just a thought.”

Couldn’t agree more.

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Sean Paul Kelley

Traveler of the (real) Silk Road, scholar and historian, photographer and writer - founder of The Agonist.

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