Yesterday, House and Senate Republicans sent a letter to Federal Communications Commission Chairman Tom Wheeler urging him to reject any reclassification proposal that would ground the FCC’s authority to regulate the internet in Title II of the Communications Act. Public Knowledge contends that an Open Internet without fast lanes, blocking or throttling can only exist if the FCC adopts Title II rules. Unfortunately, the House and Senate Republican letter ignores this inconvenient fact. Public Knowledge also notes that, according to a recent survey by the Internet Freedom Business Alliance, Republicans and self-identified conservatives support strong net neutrality rules even more than Democrats and self-identified liberals.
The following can be attributed to Chris Lewis, Vice President of Government Affairs at Public Knowledge:
“Chairman Fred Upton, Ranking Member John Thune, and the other signatories to the letter praise the values of net neutrality and an Open Internet, but insist that the FCC has no authority to create enforceable rules to protect these values. The President proposes the way forward to use existing authority — reclassifying broadband as a Title II service. Rather than engage on the merits, Chairman Upton and Ranking Member Thune respond with a litany of talking points provided by industry lobbyists, choosing to side with a handful of special interests rather than the millions of small businesses, entrepreneurs and ordinary Americans who want to keep the internet a level playing field for all.
“In 2010, Republicans in Congress rejected the effort by Democrats to solve the problem and refused to even consider legislation drafted by Rep. Henry Waxman and supported by companies such as AT&T and Verizon. In 2011, Republicans voted to repeal the FCC’s Open Internet rules despite broad popular and industry support for the rules.
“A recent survey released by the Internet Freedom Business Alliance shows that — outside of Washington and away from the influence of special interest lobbying — Republicans and Democrats alike support strong Open Internet rules. We hope that Republicans in Congress will show they can govern and engage constructively on this issue instead of resorting to partisan politics. We encourage both Chairman Upton and Ranking Member Thune to share how they intend to promote net neutrality without passing legislation or enabling the FCC to create rules that prevent ISPs from violating it.”
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