Seattle, WA – On August 6th, 2013, Representative Jim McDermott (D-WA) sent a letter to Federal Communications Commission Chairwoman Mignon Clyburn, urging the defense of free and open internet access in light of a CBS and Time Warner contract dispute.

In the midst of television retransmission rights negotiations, CBS has blocked Time Warner Cable broadband internet customers, even those who do not subscribe to Time Warner Cable’s television package, from accessing

“CBS’s action violates the Commission’s 2005 Broadband Internet Policy Statement provision that ‘…consumers are entitled to access the lawful Internet content of their choice,’” wrote McDermott, “a principle which I believe is firmly rooted in the First Amendment.”

A hub of technological innovation, McDermott’s district of Seattle has much at stake in this discussion. “As a Member of Congress representing Seattle, the home of so many companies and institutions with an important stake in a free and open internet, I am troubled to see internet access being used as a weapon in a commercial contract dispute affecting television,” said McDermott.

The letter takes no position on the merits of either side’s position in the contractual discussion. Read the full letter here.