Free Press Pushing For Network Neutrality Legislation

Free Press is renewing its push for network neutrality legislation.

Buoyed by the Obama White House's support of "the principle of network neutrality," Free Press says it is ramping up its campaign to make neutrality the law of the land.

Free Press Executive Director Josh Silver, in an e-mail to supporters, said that the group is "re-engaging its coalition, saying it comprises 850 organizations, 6,000 bloggers and 1.6 million people.

Silver says coalition members will be pressing the flesh and organizing a "letter to the editor" campaign to "flood local newspapers" with stories about "why an open, accessible Internet matters."

The effort comes in the wake of the passage of an economic stimulus bill that includes $7.2 billion in money for broadband buildouts that include openness conditions, interconnectin and build-out conditions, though openness has yet to be defined.

Free Press was a major player in the push for network neutrality legislation in the last Congress. That effort fell short, but the debate helped spotlight the issue. The FCC wound up reaffirming its openness principles, and took action against Comcast for impeding peer-to-peer traffic, sending the signal to other operators about what it would and would not consider appropriate network management.

And under the just-passed stimulus package, the FCC will be charged with coming up with a plan to extend broadband to everyone in the country.

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.