Montana Jones

Montana n: A state of the northwest United States bordering on Canada. Admitted as the 41st state in 1889. The fourth largest state in the union, it includes vast prairies and numerous majestic mountain ranges.
Syn: Treasure State, Big Sky Country, Last Best Place.

Jones n: slang. An addiction or very deep craving.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Net Neutrality

In response to a quick note.

Dear Mr. Jones:

Thank you for contacting me regarding the net neutrality issue. It is good to hear from you.

I completely agree that the Internet should remain an open and neutral medium to conduct commerce and gather information. I generally dislike Internet regulation, but I agree that the concern over large ISPs granting priority to one content provider over another has merit and should be monitored closely. Although it hasn't happened yet, the issue of large ISPs granting exclusive deals with content providers is a serious one and could have drastic effects on Montanans and Montana businesses.

As you know, there is a piece of legislation that has been introduced by Sen. Snowe and Sen. Dorgan that addresses the issue of net neutrality. While I fully support the spirit and intent of this bill, I do have some concerns with how it goes about ensuring the Internet remains a free an open forum. I feel that the FCC is in a much better position to protect consumers from abuses regarding the Internet than Congress and would like to see them monitor this situation to make sure large ISPs do not grant exclusive deals and harm consumer's interest. I also have concerns with a blanket 'equal priority' because there could be serious unintended consequences due to the increase in popularity of VoIP and related emergency communication over the Internet. There could be a day when we want to ensure emergency VoIP calls have priority over downloading music or video games.

Sen. Stevens has included language in the telecommunications overhaul of 2006 which will give the FCC the tools they need to closely monitor this issue and quickly act if any large ISPs attempt to make exclusive deals with content providers. I feel this is the best way to solve this potential problem without creating any unintended consequences. Rest assured, I am taking this matter very seriously and am working hard to ensure the Internet remains and open forum and remains an effective and useful tool for Montanans.

Please do not hesitate to contact my office with any questions or concerns that you may have. It is important to note that heightened security procedures due to the Anthrax and Ricin incidents have significantly delayed the processing and delivery of mail to my Washington , D.C. office. I encourage you to contact me via phone at (800) 344-1513, fax at (202)-224-8594, or through my website at I apologize for any inconvenience caused by the delay in our mail process. I appreciate you patience as we continue to work through our increase security measures.

Conrad Burns
United States Senator