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Sen. Franken Cosponsors Legislation to Maintain Net Neutrality

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Yesterday, U.S. Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) cosponsored net neutrality legislation to maintain a free and open Internet. The bill, called the Internet Freedom, Broadband Promotion, and Consumer Protection Act of 2011, comes in the wake of the Federal Communications Commission's (FCC) recent issuance of net neutrality rules, which Sen. Franken believes are not strong enough to protect today's open Internet. The legislation was authored by Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.).

"Net neutrality is one of the most important issues facing our country today," said Sen. Franken. "The recent FCC ruling on net neutrality does not do nearly enough to protect consumers, and this bill is designed to maintain a free and open Internet. This isn't just about speech, it's also about entrepreneurship and innovation, and it's about our economy."

The Internet Freedom, Broadband Promotion, and Consumer Protection Act of 2011 will ensure real net neutrality protections by prohibiting unreasonable discrimination against lawful Internet content, applications, services, or service providers. It also outlaws paid prioritization, when big companies pay Internet providers to put their websites on a fast track and relegate other websites that can't afford to pay to a slow lane.

Sen. Franken has long been a vocal proponent of net neutrality since he first spoke out on the issue in his questioning of Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor during her confirmation hearings in July 2009. In August of 2010, he delivered a speech at an event in Minneapolis hosted by the nonprofit organization Free Press, where he called net neutrality "the First Amendment issue of our time," which you can read here. He recently delivered a speech on the Senate floor outlining his concerns about the FCC's proposal, which you can find here, and also authored an op-ed on the subject for the Huffington Post, which you can read here .

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