Senator Markey Pledges Nationwide, Grassroots Defense of Net Neutrality As Court Hears Arguments Today
Senator Markey filed amicus brief challenging the FCC December 2017 decision to eliminate net neutrality rules
Washington (February 1, 2019) – Senator Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) is in court today to support the plaintiffs who are challenging the federal government’s repeal of net neutrality rules. The D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals began hearing oral arguments today in Washington, D.C., and Senator Markey is there to support the case of internet companies and 22 state attorneys general who say the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) lacked the legal reasoning for throwing out net neutrality regulations. In August 2018, Senator Markey and Congresswoman Anna G. Eshoo (CA-18) led more than 100 members of Congress in filing an amicus brief in the case being heard today.
“Whether in the halls of the courts or the halls of Congress, we will fight to defend net neutrality,” said Senator Markey, author of the first net neutrality bill introduced in the House of Representatives.“Nothing less than the fate of the internet is being argued in this court case, and we must do everything we can in this historic fight. We will soon lay down a legislative marker in the Senate in support of net neutrality to show the American people that we are on their side in overwhelming supporting a free and open internet.
“Both the plain language and Congressional intent behind the Telecommunications Act of 1996 make clear that today, broadband access to the internet is a telecommunications service. As the House author of that landmark bill, I know first-hand what we intended. Yet Chairman Pai and President Trump ignored the statute and Congress’s intent when the FCC reclassified broadband back to an information service and eviscerated the net neutrality rules. They are on the wrong side of history, and I believe the court will find in our favor.”
In December 2017, the FCC voted to repeal the 2015 Open Internet Order, which prohibited internet service providers from blocking, slowing down, or discriminating against content online. Repealing the net neutrality rules could lead to higher prices for consumers, slower internet traffic, and even blocked websites. A poll showed that 86 percent of Americans do not approve of the FCC action to repeal net neutrality rules, including 82 percent of Republicans. Senator Markey’s Congressional Review Act resolution to reinstate federal net neutrality protections passed on a bi-partisan basis in the Senate in May 2018.