Senate Democrats Join Entrepreneurs, Advocates, Consumers in Defense of Net Neutrality
Pledge strong opposition to efforts to weaken FCC Open Internet Order that ensures consumer choice, freedom of expression, and competition
A link to video of today’s press conference can be found HERE.
Washington (February 7, 2017) – Today, Senator Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), alongside his Democratic colleagues Senators Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.), Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) and Al Franken (D-Minn.), was joined by entrepreneurs, advocates and consumers at a press conference where all pledged to oppose legislative and regulatory efforts to weaken net neutrality rules. Two years ago, after hearing from nearly four million individuals and companies, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) adopted the Open Internet Order, rules that prevent internet service providers from blocking or discriminating against internet traffic. Since then, Republicans have stated their clear intention to weaken or roll-back net neutrality rules, putting big broadband companies and corporate interests ahead of consumers and competition.
“Despite what the cable companies and Republicans say about net neutrality, there is nothing broken that needs fixing,” said Senator Markey, a member of the Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee. “I will oppose any regulatory efforts, including repeal, forbearance, interpretative rule, or refusal to enforce existing rules, as well as any legislative efforts to undo or roll back the Open Internet Order. We stand united in this fight to ensure that all Americans have access to a free and open Internet.”
“Our message is clear: the FCC’s Net Neutrality rule is working, it’s protecting consumers and protecting the freedom of the open internet, and any attempt to roll back this rule and its protections would be foolish and will be met with fierce resistance by Senate Democrats,” said Senate Democratic Leader Charles E. Schumer.
“Millions of Americans called on the FCC to protect an open Internet and preserve competition online, and the FCC did just that,” said Senator Leahy. “Now, opponents of a free and open Internet, including the new chairman appointed by President Trump, want to reverse this progress. Undermining net neutrality protections is not only harmful to consumers; it undercuts economic opportunity and freedom of speech. That is unacceptable.”
“Net neutrality is the foundation for 21st century education, health care and the innovation that created the largest new U.S. employers in the past 20 years,” said Senator Wyden. “A roll back of net neutrality gives the Internet -- and with it free speech, education and innovation -- only to those who can afford it. I will be standing alongside the millions of Americans who support strong net neutrality rules and oppose any such efforts.”
“We’re in for a fight, and there is much at stake,” said Senator Blumenthal. “Allowing a broadband provider to block or discriminate against certain content providers is not only a threat to the continued success of America’s innovators and job-creators, it is also a danger to free speech – one of the core principles of our democracy – at a time when so many of our First Amendment rights are threatened.”
“The internet has always operated as an open and level playing field for every American consumer and business,” said Senator Franken. “This is what we call net neutrality, and during my time in the Senate, it’s a principle I’ve fought tooth and nail to preserve. I’m going to challenge any attempt to whittle away at the net neutrality rules that we have in place, because I believe that allowing giant corporations to pick and choose the content available to everyday Americans would threaten the basic principles of our democracy.”
“As the co-founder of a small video startup, I know from experience that net neutrality is critically important to both businesses like ours and filmmakers in reaching consumers on their phones, tablets, and connected TVs,” said Jamie Wilkinson, CEO of Vimeo subsidiary VHX.