May 09, 2017

Wyden, Merkley Urge FCC to Protect Net Neutrality

Letter to FCC Chairman Pai outlines opposition to plans to undermine the Open Internet Order

Washington, DC  –  U.S. Sens. Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley today wrote Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Ajit Pai to express their strong opposition to the Chairman’s plans to gut net neutrality protections.

“Net neutrality rules protect the free flow of ideas that are creating new industries, educating our youth, promoting free speech, and supporting the communications that we rely on every day,” the Oregon senators wrote in the letter along with Sen. Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) and 10 other senators.

The lawmakers are concerned about undermining of the FCC’s Open Internet Order, which prohibits internet service providers from setting up internet fast and slow lanes, ensuring all online traffic is treated the same. The FCC plans to vote next week on a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking that would undermine the Open Internet Order, beginning the process of reclassifying broadband back to an information service.

In 2015, the FCC adopted the Open Internet Order, which reclassified broadband as a telecommunication service. In 2016, the D.C. Circuit Court upheld those rules.

In their letter, the senators also highlight that elimination of the Open Internet Order and reclassifying broadband as an information service would prohibit the FCC from adopting other important protections, such as expanding the Lifeline program to broadband, protecting subscribers’ broadband privacy, and promoting broadband competition.

“Without the Open Internet Order, Internet Service Providers could discriminate against certain services, potentially distorting competition, stifling innovation, and hampering user choice and free expression,” they wrote.  

Also signing the letter were Sens. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Al Franken (D-Minn.), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Tom Udall (D-N.M.), Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), and Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.).

A copy of the letter can he found here.