Vint Cerf, a vice president at It’s Our Net Coalition member Google, fired off a letter to the members of the Senate Commerce Committee to “correct the record” of what he really said recently in Europe, as opposed to what opponents of Net Neutrality have claimed in newspaper ads.

Here is Cerf’s letter:

3 August 2006

The Honorable Ted Stevens
Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation
508 Dirksen Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510

Dear Mr. Chairman:

I write to reiterate my strong belief that Congress should enact meaningful Net Neutrality safeguards as part of any telecommunications reform legislation. Recently, opponents of an open Internet have funded an expensive print and media campaign using selective quotations from a speech I gave overseas. The thrust of this campaign is to suggest, absurdly, that I believe Net Neutrality legislation is unnecessary this year. I assure you that nothing could be further from the truth.

While opponents of Net Neutrality have chosen to highlight a portion of a sentence from my response to a purely hypothetical question, they deliberately failed to provide the quote in context, or provide the full excerpt. Indeed, according to a July 4, 2006 Reuters story, I concluded my answer by saying:

“If we are not successful in our arguments … then we will simply have to wait until something bad happens and then we will make known our case to the Department of Justice’s antitrust division.”

Until, not unless. The entirety of my comments clearly indicate that I continue to believe, as I have since Bob Kahn and I worked on the development of TCP-IP three decades ago, that anti-competitive, discriminatory behavior on the part of network operators is inevitable in the absence of meaningful non-discrimination protections. As I said in testimony before your Committee, without these safeguards, I believe that the publicly accessible Internet itself would never have developed.

Google remains deeply committed to working with you and the other Members of Congress to ensure that strong and effective Net Neutrality safeguards are enacted to promote and protect consumer access to and use of the Internet. I appreciate the opportunity to correct the record.

Vinton G. Cerf
Vice President and Chief Internet Evangelist

cc: Members of the Committee