Today, Rep. Doug Collins (R-GA) introduced a Resolution of Disapproval that would undo the Federal Communications Commission’s new Open Internet rules. Public Knowledge refutes Rep. Collins’ claims that net neutrality will slow Internet speeds, increase prices or hinder broadband deployment. More than four million Americans asked the FCC for strong Open Internet rules, which Rep. Collins’ resolution would clearly eradicate. We urge all Members of Congress to vigorously oppose this resolution.
The following statement can be attributed to Chris Lewis, Vice President for Government Affairs at Public Knowledge:
“Rep. Collins' resolution is in opposition to a large and growing bipartisan consensus that simple, strong rules are important to protect an Open Internet. In the last decade, we have seen both Republican- and Democratic-led Federal Communications Commissions enforce net neutrality because these principles are central to the development of the Internet.
“Millions of Americans have weighed in on the importance of the new rules, including business leaders, technology startups, racial justice groups, technology investors, and public interest groups. Even some Republican leaders who don’t like Title II reclassification have put forward a bill to create net neutrality rules. The consensus is clear: The American public wants strong rules, and it would be a shame to lose the hard-fought rules we just won after spending a year without any protections.
“Imagine if no rules were in place when AT&T discriminated against Facetime in 2012, or if no enforcement threat had stopped Comcast from throttling BitTorrent in 2007. Big ISPs have made it clear that they wish to act as gatekeepers, and government has made it clear that ISPs have the business incentive to do so. Without Open Internet protections, investment in new online startups will be harder to come by, innovative services may need permission to compete with gatekeeper ISPs like Comcast, and consumers may see the digital divide increase.
“This resolution is misguided politically and substantially. Politically, it will only make it harder to build on the consensus around the need for rules that has developed in the past few months. Republican leaders have asked net neutrality proponents to come to the table to find a way forward, but this repeal only pulls sides farther apart. On the substance, this repeal will prevent the FCC from enforcing any version of net neutrality in the future, not just this version of rules. The Congressional Review Act is a blunt instrument that restricts agencies from attempting other methods to address the same problem.
“Most worrisome, Rep. Collins makes several claims about the new FCC rules that have been proven wrong. He claims the rules will funnel dollars towards new federal taxes and fees, however the FCC was very careful to forbear from rules that would apply new fees to ISPs. Rep. Collins also claims the FCC uses old definitions to enact these rules, but broadband was still classified as a Title II service from the birth of the Internet until 2005. Worst of all, Rep. Collins claims he wants an Open Internet, yet provides no path forward to ensure it.
“Given these reasons, Public Knowledge encourages all Members of Congress to oppose this resolution.”
Members of the media may contact Communications Director Shiva Stella with inquiries, interview requests, or to join the Public Knowledge press list at firstname.lastname@example.org or 405-249-9435.