Pingree Urges FCC Chairman to Preserve Net Neutrality Regulations
Today, Congresswoman Chellie Pingree and more than two dozen members of the U.S. House sent a letter to FCC Chairman Ajit Pai urging him to preserve Obama-era net neutrality regulations. The letter comes after White House spokesman Sean Spicer said President Trump would soon target the 2015 net neutrality regulations which ensure equal access to the Internet.
Statement from Congresswoman Chellie Pingree (D-Maine):
"At a time when a quarter of America is living without reliable broadband access, including thousands of households in Maine, the priority of the Trump Administration should be to help more Americans get connected, not fewer. Eliminating net neutrality regulations will create more hurdles for low-income individuals to access information because telecom companies can then create fast and slow lanes based on what a person can afford to pay."
In the letter sent to Chairman Pai, Pingree and 31 House members wrote:
We urge you to abide by the law and retain Net Neutrality rules grounded in Title Il of the Communications Act. Under the current legal framework governing your agency, Title II is the best, most flexible, and indeed the only authority for protecting the open Internet.
In 2015, record public engagement for an FCC rulemaking proceeding generated millions of comments in support of Title II classification for broadband Internet. The Commission listened to the people and businesses that demanded these safeguards. The FCC then followed the law, both in letter and spirit, when it decided to reclassify broadband Internet access as a telecommunications service under Title II.
Reclassification under Title II returned the Commission’s authority to the solid footing of the Telecommunications Act, updated in 1996 on an overwhelmingly bipartisan basis. The FCC’s decision was upheld just last year by the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals. The law grants the Commission the power to prohibit cable and phone companies from blocking speech, inhibiting political organizing, or interfering with online commerce.
Under Title II, the Internet has remained open for competition, innovation and creativity. Broadband investment has continued apace and Internet service provider revenues have continued to grow since the Commission issued its landmark decision in 2015.
Most importantly, strong Net Neutrality rules have worked to keep the Internet free from discrimination against users, regardless of their race or economic status. You simply cannot claim to support the open Internet and Net Neutrality rules while abandoning and attacking the legal framework that makes those rules possible.
We call upon you and your fellow commissioners to uphold these vital protections, as well as our constituents’ congressionally mandated communications rights. You must maintain rules that truly prevent discrimination, preserve choice, and promote opportunity for people across this nation and around the world.