Public Knowledge President to Testify on the Certainty of the Internet Under Strong Net Neutrality

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Public Knowledge President Gene Kimmelman will testify before the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Energy and Commerce Wednesday, February 25 at 10:30 a.m. His testimony in the hearing on “The Uncertain Future of the Internet” will support the Federal Communications Commission’s Title II adoption as the best means for protecting an Open Internet. In fact, it is the first step in ensuring certainty for the future of the Internet.

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

“Public Knowledge, along with millions of consumers, civil and media rights groups, small businesses, and innovative startup companies, believes that application of Title II authority under the Communications Act is critical to preserve and promote an Open Internet that is affordable to all and fully supportive of freedom of expression.

“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.

“Even while the FCC spent the last decade considering other sources of rulemaking authority, the FCC explicitly left Title II as an option should it ever become necessary. If Congress intends to remove this option, it needs to provide the FCC with an equally flexible tool to replace Title II and preserve open Internet and basic Network Compact protections. In our testimony before the Senate Commerce Committee on January 21, 2015 we detailed the specific weaknesses of the Thune/Upton draft bill including its removal of FCC rulemaking authority over broadband.

“Those seeking to limit FCC authority like to recite the mantra ‘first do no harm.’ While we appreciate Congress’s role in updating the Communications Act periodically, we remain concerned that current legislative proposals are 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.

“The history of the development of our modern communications landscape demonstrates that Title II preserves critical values, promotes competition and investment, and is flexible enough to accommodate changes in technology and the marketplace. The concerns that Title II is insufficiently flexible for broadband can – and should – be thoroughly examined in this fuller context. In doing so, Congress can continue to protect the fundamental values of our communications system.”

You may view the full-length testimony here.

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