For Immediate Release
Thursday, June 8, 2006
Internet neutrality and Broadband Access.
"I am going to discuss some topics that may seem arcane, but they will affect the future of information access in this country. The citizens of the 4th District need to have the confidence that they are represented by a Congressman who will protect their interests. They cannot have that confidence in the incumbent.
"The House of Representatives is considering HR 5252, the Communications Opportunity, Promotion and Enhancement (COPE) Act of 2006. Another bill, H.R. 5417, the Internet Freedom and Nondiscrimination Act of 2006 sponsored by Congressman Sensenbrenner, which I support, has also made it out of committee. This bill would preserve "net neutrality," which has made the Internet the powerful medium for free expression and commercial competition that it is today. No such provision is included in the COPE Act. (NOTE-the COPE Act passed without any net neutrality provisions).
"Advocacy groups from across the political spectrum and commercial organizations regard net neutrality as essential. Who wishes to eliminate net neutrality? The giant telecommunications and cable companies. They want to have the power to decide which Websites can have fast transmission of their data and which cannot. They wish to have the power to discriminate against the Websites of competitors. They wish to make Website owners pay to have fast transmission of their data. Those who don't pay could be shut out of having their content transmitted at all. The content of the Internet would be under these companies' control.
"A number of these companies are the result of reconsolidation in the telecommunication industry of the Regional Bell Companies. It is their goal to continue to make enormous profits, and they see controlling data flow on the Internet as a means to that end.
"I am not assailing the telecommunications industry. I do not dispute the right of these corporations to use legitimate means to maximize their profits. The question is why would a U.S. Representative put the interests of these industries before the interests of his constituents?
"The incumbent Congressman, Representative Buyer, opposes the preservation of Internet neutrality. He also wanted to eliminate one of the few positive features of the COPE Act, which ensures that municipalities can provide broadband services to its residents. Congressman Buyer's positions are those favored by the giant telecommunications corporations. Fortunately, even Congressman Buyer's Republican colleagues opposed his measure.
"Why does Congressman Buyer take these positions? Perhaps he is preparing for what he will be doing after the election in November. He is already the equivalent of a paid lobbyist for the telecommunications industry. Congressman Buyer has taken over $200,000 in campaign contributions from telecommunications companies-nearly half from corporations descended from the regional Bell companies who would be the main beneficiaries of the legislative positions that he favors.
"There was recently a photograph of Congressman Buyer behind a podium with an AT&T logo where the Congressman was promoting some new service that AT&T is planning to provide. This is not the first time he has filled this role. Why does he do this?
"The giant telecommunications companies not only pay for Congressman Buyer's campaigns but they also pay for travel to fun places by Congressman Buyer's staff. The Indianapolis Star reported that Congressman Buyer's staff was the most well-traveled of any Indiana Congressman. It's no wonder that Congressman Buyer has opposed all restrictions on lobbyist-paid travel. When I serve in Congress my staff and I will not accept any travel paid by lobbyists.
"Congressman Buyer's relations with telecommunications lobbyists is a fine example of the corruption that has destroyed people's faith in Congress. His staff exemplifies the revolving door between Congress and lobbying jobs. According to a press release from the Cellular Telecommunications & Internet Association, Congressman Buyer's Communications Director became the Association's Director of Government Affairs. She was soon back in Buyer's office. This sort of hopping back and forth is inconsistent with government service and will not occur with my staff.
"A Congressman has to have the self-respect not to be the puppet of corporate special interests. He needs to put the interests of his constituents ahead of his own interests and those of his campaign contributors. I will be the independent advocate for the people of Indiana that the 4th District deserves."
Dr. Sanders is an Associate Professor in the Department of Biological Sciences at Purdue University. David Sanders' three boys, Honi, Akiva, and Yinnon Sanders attend the West Lafayette public schools.
Dr. Sanders' connection with Purdue University is mentioned for identification purposes only and does not imply University endorsement.