New York Considers Resolution Backing Net Neutrality


The New York City Council was scheduled to hold a meeting Friday morning on a resolution backing strong network neutrality principles.

The resolution, which says the Internet is "in jeopardy" until such rules are approved, was co-sponsored by seven council members.

"The Council of the City of New York calls upon the Federal Communications Commission to codify strong network neutrality principles in order to ensure that the Internet will continue to foster innovation, increase competition, and spur economic growth as well as making the Internet faster and more affordable for all," the resolution reads.

It also cited Sen. John McCain's (R-Ariz.) proposal of a bill to block the FCC as a reason for adopting the resolution.

Public Knowledge sent Communications Director Art Brodsky to the meeting, according to the group. He was scheduled to endorse the resolution "in the strongest terms possible."

FCC chairman Julius Genachwoski was in New York Thursday and met with Mayor Michael Bloomberg about "the value of broadband deployment and adoption, the importance of interoperable communications networks for the public safety community, and economic challenges in the media landscape," according to the chairman's blog.

A spokesperson for the chairman said the visit was not related to the resolution and that he was in New York for a speech at the Paley Center and took that opportunity to meet with the mayor.

Also weighing in Friday in New York were net neutrality backers Free Press and the Writers Guild of America.

According to a copy of the testimony, WGAE Executive Director Lowell Peterson let the networks and studios have it with both barrels, saying their interest was profit, not the public and that network neutrality regulations were needed to protect content creators: "Although our members enjoy the work they do for the major studios and networks, we do not have any illusions that the underlying mission of these for-profit entities is to serve the public interest. Megastudios make blockbusters about intergalactic robots, not small satires about life in Williamsburg, or about what it's like to be a teenager in The Bronx. Huge networks do not generate enough revenue to cover all of the news, or to present the myriad voices of the nation's diverse communities. Open access to the Internet gives people many more opportunities to learn, to laugh, and to understand."

"We are greatly encouraged that the New York City Council is taking the lead on the vital issue of Net Neutrality and believe this resolution will send a strong message to Washington and serve as a model for other cities across the country," said Free Press campaign director Timothy Karr, according to the group.

Free Press also said it delivered a petition with 4,000 signatures pushing the council to sign on to the resolution.