Today, reports indicate that Senators Ed Markey (D-MA) and Ron Wyden (D-OR), along with Rep. Matsui (D-CA) and other co-sponsors, will soon introduce a bill to reinstate net neutrality and the Federal Communications Commission’s authority over broadband service. The “Net Neutrality and Broadband Justice Act” would codify the FCC’s authority to classify broadband as a “Title II” communications service and regulate it as such.
The bill effectively reverses the unprecedented abdication of authority over broadband that FCC Chairman Pai instigated in the agency’s 2017 repeal of its 2015 Open Internet Order that established the net neutrality rules under Chairman Tom Wheeler. Those rules prevented broadband providers from blocking websites, throttling web traffic, or creating “fast lanes” only for those able to pay for prioritization. Prior to Chairman Pai’s abdication, Republican and Democratic Commissions had agreed the FCC had authority over broadband – the question was just under which title of its statute. The bill also prevents a future-FCC from backtracking on other broadband consumer protections – fundamental in an increasingly online world. Public Knowledge urges Congress to swiftly pass this bill once introduced.
The following can be attributed to Greg Guice, Director of Government Affairs at Public Knowledge:
“For over two decades, the FCC had been on the beat trying to protect consumers’ access to a free and open internet. It was only during the Trump administration that the FCC, for the first time, disavowed any authority to fulfill its congressional mandate to ensure all Americans have access to communications services.
“That abdication of responsibility must be rectified and we are pleased that Senators Markey and Wyden and Representative Matsui are moving to do just that. Congress should quickly enact the ‘Net Neutrality and Broadband Justice Act.’ This legislation is more than just a bill for net neutrality. It will reinstate the FCC, the expert agency, with the authority to promote policies to help consumers access broadband – repeatedly recognized by Congress as an essential service – as well as promote competition and public safety while strengthening the resiliency of these networks during disasters.”
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