FCC starts process to bring back common sense net neutrality protections and broadband oversight

On Thursday, the FCC Commission voted 3-2 to adopt a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking asking for comments on the FCC’s plan to restore net neutrality.

Here’s my statement:

“I’m pleased that the FCC started the process to bring back net neutrality for all Americans and restore its oversight over the companies we pay to get online. 

In 2017, the FCC abolished all net neutrality protections and abdicated its duty to ensure the nation’s most important communication system remains open and free. This left American Internet users unprotected for the first time since the Internet’s inception.

The order was a radical departure from decades of careful work by FCC chairs of both political parties, who recognized and acted against the danger internet service providers (ISPs) posed to the free markets that rose out of and depend on the Internet.

Under the leadership of Chair Jessica Rosenworcel, the FCC is now on the path to restoring commonsense net neutrality protections that ensure that we, the people who use the internet, get to decide what we do online, without interference from the companies we pay to get online. 

The FCC’s reassertion of authority will also give it the power to make sure that our nation’s networks are prepared for emergencies and disasters, and that fiber optic networks by upstarts and rural co-ops can expand without being unfairly blocked and slowed down by incumbent telephone and cable providers.

The pandemic lockdowns made clear to everyone that internet access is vital to all facets of our lives, from work to education to entertainment to our connections with friends, family, and loved ones. 

Broadband access is so essential that the federal government provides tens of billions a year to expand broadband deployment, help schools provide internet access to students, and make sure that people with low-incomes can afford to get online – programs that are supported by both parties, the telecom industry, and consumer advocates.

It’s common sense that such a critical infrastructure needs an expert agency that has authority to set ground rules, ensure fairness, and act swiftly when there are abuses. That’s why the FAA oversees airlines, the FDA has responsibility for prescription drug safety, and why the FCC was created in the first place.

Americans deserve an expert agency with the power to promote broadband deployment in underserved rural and urban areas, foster competition to keep prices falling and speeds rising, ensure the nation’s communications systems are robust and secure, and make sure that giant telecoms don’t infringe on Americans’ rights to a free and open internet.”

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