April 8, 2011: COMMITTEE DEMS: GOP RESOLUTION TO ELIMINATE OPEN INTERNET PROTECTIONS HURTS CONSUMERS
News from Energy and Commerce Committee
COMMITTEE DEMOCRATS: REPUBLICAN RESOLUTION TO ELIMINATE OPEN INTERNET PROTECTIONS HURTS CONSUMERS AND INNOVATION
Washington, DC Reps. Henry A. Waxman, Anna G. Eshoo, Edward Markey, Mike Doyle, and Doris O. Matsui released statements after today's House vote on H.J. Res. 37, a resolution that would reverse the FCC?s landmark framework to protect Internet users and preserve a free, open, and accessible Internet.
"This is a bad bill, made worse by a terrible process," said Rep. Waxman, Ranking Member of the Energy and Commerce Committee. "If enacted, this bill would give big phone and cable companies control over what websites Americans can visit, what applications they can run, and what devices they can use. Consumer advocates, civil rights organizations, high-tech companies, religious groups, and labor unions all say H.J. Res. 37 should be rejected. The Committee heard from more than 150 stakeholders urging Congress to keep the Internet open and defeat this bill."
"Over the past two months, Congressional testimony has been clear that basic "rules of the road" are good for consumers and provide companies the certainty they need to invest with confidence," said Rep. Eshoo, Ranking Member of the Internet and Technology Subcommittee. "By repealing rules to protect the hallmarks of the Internet, the resolution will create market uncertainty, stifle consumer choice, and harm innovation and job creation. Americans overwhelmingly oppose practices which limit a free and open Internet, but Republicans have turned a deaf ear."
"The misguided Republican resolution to repeal the FCC's Open Internet Order would be disastrous for consumers, investment, and job creation," said Rep. Markey. "The Open Internet Rule is a commonsense "light touch" approach to preserving the most successful commercial and communications medium in the world's history. The GOP resolution would undermine the Internet economy by permitting Broadband Barons to erect online tolls on the Internet, favor their own content over that owned by others, block access to lawful websites or take other anti-competitive, anti-consumer actions that undermine the Internet's free and open nature."
No one's proposing to regulate internet content," said Rep. Doyle. "But Internet access providers have always lived with basic rules of the road, and "no blocking" was chief among them. Those basic rules of the road are what turned the Internet into the economic engine it is today. Now some broadband providers don?t want to play by those rules. They want the right to block what you get to see. I don't want to live in a country where it's legal to block websites like it is in oppressive regimes like Iran, China, Saudi Arabia, and Sudan. I think that consumers should have the choice to go where they want to go, and do what they want to do on the Internet. This resolution gives the green light to broadband providers to block anything, even legal content, on the Internet. Just like they do in Iran."
"The FCC's Open Internet Order will bring clarity to the broadband and high-tech economy. The Rules will promote competition, innovation, job creation and protect consumers. These common sense rules should not be controversial, let alone repealed, particularly when an overwhelming number of stakeholders and economists support the FCC Order," said Rep. Matsui. "H.J. Res. 37 will discourage competition, innovation and job creation. It is critical that we continue to support a free and open Internet for all Americans."
The Committee has received letters from more than 150 organizations, coalitions, and other stakeholders voicing their opposition to the Republican resolution. These letters can be accessed here.