Press Release Net Neutrality

Public Knowledge President to Testify Before Senate Commerce Committee

January 20, 2015 ,

Public Knowledge President Gene Kimmelman will testify before the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation Wednesday, January 21 at 2:30 p.m. His testimony in the hearing on “Protecting the Internet and Consumers Through Congressional Action” will support the Federal Communications Commission’s Title II adoption as the best means for protecting an Open Internet.

The following may be attributed to Public Knowledge President Gene Kimmelman:

“Public Knowledge cares about keeping the internet open because the internet has become — as Congress has repeatedly recognized in past legislation — the essential communications service of the 21st century. As communication, commerce, and civic engagement increasingly depend on broadband internet access, it becomes even more critical to ensure that the internet remains open for all Americans to participate online to the best of their abilities. Fortunately, in Title II, Congress has already given the FCC the flexibility to do just that.

“Congress has repeatedly recognized in its periodic updates of the Communications Act that rulemaking authority provides critical flexibility for the Commission to adapt existing rules to rapidly evolving technology and the ever-shifting marketplace. A statute captures a single moment in time. It works best, therefore, when focused on broad and timeless principles — fundamental values such as consumer protection, competition, universal service, and public safety — rather than trying to account for every single detail.

“Public Knowledge was the first organization to urge the FCC to reclassify broadband as a Title II service precisely because only Title II could provide adequate authority to protect our traditional fundamental values of consumer protection, service to all Americans, reliability, and competition. Public Knowledge has continued to press for Title II not only as the most straightforward way to prevent blocking or paid prioritization, but also as the only way to continue to protect the fundamental values that have made our communications infrastructure the envy of the world.

“Those seeking to limit FCC authority like to recite the mantra “first do no harm.” While we appreciate Congress’ role in updating the Communications Act periodically, we remain concerned that the draft legislation [from Senator Thune] is likely to cause more harm than benefit. We urge the FCC to move forward on Title II rules and urge Congress to evaluate those in light of broader policy goals and the concerns we raise about the draft.”

You may view the full-length testimony here.