Public Knowledge Urges Senate to Pass Save the Internet Act to Restore Net Neutrality

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Today, Senators Ed Markey (D-MA), Maria Cantwell (D-WA), and Ron Wyden (D-OR) requested the U.S. Senate hold a vote on the Save the Internet Act (S. 682). The Save the Internet Act  (H.R. 1644) was passed by the U.S. House of Representatives earlier this year. The bill would restore the Federal Communications Commission’s 2015 Open Internet Order and the agency’s net neutrality consumer protections, preventing broadband providers from blocking websites, throttling web traffic, or creating “fast lanes” only for those able to pay for prioritization.

Chairman Pai’s FCC repealed these rules in 2017, ignoring the millions of Americans who support net neutrality. Today marks the one-year anniversary of Chairman Pai’s repeal going into effect, effectively stripping Americans of these consumer protections that are so fundamental in an increasingly online world.

The following can be attributed to Phillip Berenbroick, Senior Counsel of Public Knowledge:

“More than 80 percent of voters of all political affiliations routinely say they support strong net neutrality consumer protections. The Senate should hold an up or down vote on restoring these popular consumer protections to demonstrate to the public whether the Senate stands with an overwhelming majority of the public, or with a handful of the nation’s largest telephone and cable companies that oppose net neutrality.

“Members of both parties, public interest and consumer protection advocates, technology companies, and small businesses agree that Congress should pass legislation to enshrine net neutrality in statute. Last year, the Senate approved a Congressional Review Act Resolution, with bipartisan support, consistent with the Save the Internet Act. In April, the House of Representatives passed the Save the Internet Act. The Save the Internet Act is the only viable, bipartisan legislation with the necessary momentum and support to restore the strong net neutrality protections that voters and stakeholders across the internet ecosystem agree on.

“The legislation restores the FCC’s carefully crafted and narrowly tailored 2015 Open Internet Order. That Order prohibited discriminatory, anti-consumer, and anti-competitive conduct by broadband providers, including the three ‘bright line’ net neutrality rules: no blocking of lawful internet content, no throttling, and no paid prioritization. Congressional leaders of both parties support these ‘bright line’ rules, and the Save the Internet Act would enshrine these consumer protections in law and ensure large cable and telecommunications companies couldn’t lobby the FCC to thwart the will of the public.

“Additionally, the Save the Internet Act also ensures the FCC has the tools it needs to promote broadband access and affordability so that all Americans can participate in the digital economy, and that broadband users are not subject to discriminatory or unjust or unreasonable behavior by broadband providers. The Pai FCC’s repeal in 2017 not only eliminated net neutrality rules, but also took the FCC out of the business of protecting consumers over broadband generally. The Save the Internet Act ensures the FCC is the ‘cop on the beat’ to protect consumers online, promote competition, and make certain that the FCC can close the digital divide and make broadband accessible and affordable for all.

“Since the FCC’s repeal of the 2015 Open Internet Order went into effect one year ago, broadband providers have quietly taken advantage of an internet without net neutrality. Public Knowledge urges Majority Leader McConnell to bring the Save the Internet Act to a vote, and for the Senate to listen to the American people and pass the bill.”

For more information on Public Knowledge’s work to overturn the FCC’s 2017 repeal of net neutrality protections in court, you may view our intervenors’ brief.

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