Stevens's effort to garner 60 votes to push his telco give-away bill, the Communications, Consumers' Choice, and Broadband Deployment Act of 2006 (S. 2686) before the August recess has failed. That failure can in large part be attributed to the large volume of calls and e-mails Senators have been receiving in support of net neutrality over the last few months. The response from constituents, and the cash flow to campaigns from both sides of the debate, have made a number of challenged Senators unwilling to vote now.
However, it doesn't mean the death knell of the telcos' efforts to become the gatekeepers of the Internet. There are a few options open to Frist and Stevens: finding another legislative vehicle to tack the measure onto, or waiting until after the elections and holdling the vote in the lame duck session. Either option is extremely likely. The telcos aren't going to give up on this effort. Witness today's New York Times' op-ed from Timothy B. Lee. Stoller comments:
A guy named Timothy B. Lee published an Op-Ed on net neutrality reiterating the telecom positioning, and claiming that the market for broadband services is competitive. It is not. Timothy B. Lee sounds an awful lot like Tim Berners Lee, the creator of the World Wide Web and strong net neutrality proponent. And Timothy B. Lee comes from the 'Show-Me Institute', a fake think tank that defends the teaching of Intelligent Design and is funded by corporate interests and foundations with a right-wing ideological slant. As a 501(c)3, they don't have to release their donor list, but you can get a sense of who they are from reading the bios on the Board of Directors page.
Ok, so the corporatists dug up a shill from an ideologically oriented corporate funded think tank, had this guy write an Op-Ed rehashing fake arguments about competitiveness and broadband, and weirdly enough, his name sound almost exactly like world-reknowned expert Tim Berners Lee, who takes the opposite position.
Given that the telcos aren't going to let up on killing net neutrality, we have to keep up the pressure. Your Senators are coming home this weekend for the August recess. They'll probably be having a few town meetings around the state. Find out where your Senators stand on net neutrality, show up at one of their public events, and tell them that you want them to preserve net neutrality. Ask them to cosponsor the Snowe/Dorgan Internet Freedom Preservation Act, S. 2917, and to oppose Stevens's legislation as long as it contains the anti-net neutrality provision.