You know that an issue is heating up in Washington when new "grassroots" organizations start popping up. Once you can't tell the players without a scorecard, an issue is definitely on the lobbyists' and Congressional radar screen. Net neutrality has almost reached that critical mass. At the House Antitrust and Telecom Task Force hearing last week, a short pro-net neutrality manifesto was handed out by The Net Neutrality Coalition. A listing of its dozens of members can be found here. Don't confuse them with Hands Off the Internet (HOTI), which opposes any net neutrality mandates at all. The National Journal recently had an interesting article about HOTI, whose financiers include AT&T, broadband over powerline companies and several conservative public policy groups like the American Conservative Union and the Frontiers of Freedom.
I said that net neutrality has almost reached critical mass. Those of us living in the DC television market know that an issue doesn't really reach critical mass until we are bombarded by inane and arcane television commercials aimed only at 535 members of Congress and a thousand staffers. Net neutrality is not there yet, but I have no doubt the ads will start in May. Maybe we should run a contest to predict the themes. By the way, the issue of national franchising for telco video offerings reached that critical mass about a month ago. A group whose name I can't recall - it may be The Coalition for TV Freedom- has been educating us for weeks now with ads about Tyler, Texas and other bastions of TV freedom. I don't know who's really paying for the Coalition's ads, but I suspect we'll find out.