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Warren Urges FCC to Abandon Plan to Kill Net Neutrality

Thursday, December 14, 2017

 

Elizabeth Warren

U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren called on the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and Chairman Ajit Pai to abandon their plan to kill net neutrality rules.

Instead, she urged them to defend an internet that is fair and open to everyone.

“I urge every American to speak out about why net neutrality matters, and I urge the FCC to abandon its plan to kill net neutrality rules and instead ask our FCC to defend an internet that is fair and open to all,” said Warren.

Read her Full Speech Below

Mr. President, almost 60 years ago, America entered the Space Age. We pushed the bounds of human knowledge to do, see, and create things that fundamentally changed the way we live our lives. And the government was right smack at the center of it all-dedicating resources and manpower to explorations of science, medicine, engineering, and technology. The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, or DARPA, was a product of that commitment. And it was there, at DARPA, that a bunch of government and government-funded researchers created the internet.

In the intervening decades, what started in that government agency provided the building blocks for what we experience as the internet today. Creative minds in government, at colleges and universities, in business, and in homes and garages all across the country toyed and tinkered and pushed us into the Digital Age.

Today, internet use is nearly universal. Although internet access remains limited in many rural and low-income areas, students of all ages go online to access educational tools and conduct research for many school assignments. Entrepreneurs and small businesses sell goods and transact business online. Families come together to watch their favorite movies or shows. The internet and broadband services have become an important part of our lives.

And government is just as important now as it was back when the internet was created. By enforcing and implementing America's communications laws and rules, the Federal Communications Commission, the FCC, plays a critical role in making sure that the internet remains fair and open. In 2015, the FCC enshrined that commitment in an Open Internet Order, establishing net neutrality rules-strong, public interest rules that prevented big companies from deciding how or when we use the internet-rules that have the overwhelming support of the vast majority of Americans, Republican or Democrat.

But big internet companies don't want the FCC to work in the public interest; they want the internet to work for them. Long before the FCC passed net neutrality rules, those giants were working to establish control over the open internet. And after net neutrality rules were passed, they stepped up their attack-deploying armies of lobbyists and lawyers and investing massive amounts of money to bury net neutrality rules.

And now they got the champagne chilled and ready to pop open. They have a president and a GOP-controlled Congress that's more interested in stuffing the pockets of the rich and powerful than taking care of workers, small businesses and entrepreneurs, students, children, the sick, the elderly, and just about everybody else. And President Trump's choice to lead the FCC, Ajit Pai, is dedicated to transforming the FCC from an agency that works in the public interest into a big business giveaway group.

Pai has been a vocal opponent of net neutrality rules for a very long time.  After President Trump won the election, Pai gleefully declared that net neutrality's days were numbered. Pai claims that non-discrimination rules harm giant internet companies by making it more difficult for them to create new and better products. He thinks  that if these giants can discriminate against small businesses or individuals, then these giants can pick who gets the fast lane into your television set and who is stuck on dirt roads. If these giants can dictate which start ups get a foothold and which ones are left on the ground, then the giants will be better off.  Of course, he's right-the giants will be better off, but everyone else will be worse off-a lot worse off.

Chairman Pai is so committed to these internet giants that he's willing to rewrite the federal rules in order to help them out.  And even willing to rewrite the rules so that state and local governments won't be allowed to pass any consumer protection laws to protect their own citizens. 

Chairman Pai's notion of a fair and open internet is one that works for the highest bidder and it just leaves everyone else behind.

Tomorrow, the FCC will vote on whether to eliminate the protections that ensure that the internet remains fair and open to all Americans, protections that the vast majority of Americans support. Pai has barreled full speed ahead despite disturbing reports that potentially hundreds of thousands of comments submitted during the public comment period were fake, and he has ignored the FCC's responsibility to turn over documents of consumer complaints about discriminatory behavior by internet providers.

If the FCC eliminates net neutrality protections, giant internet companies will pop open those champagne bottles. They will have the power to block access, to filter content, to charge more-three powerful ways that they will pick the next round of America's winners and losers.

You know, that's not the way it should work in America. The internet doesn't belong to big internet companies. It belongs to all of us. And all of us should be part of this fight.  

Net neutrality matters.

  • For the entrepreneur working round the clock on a shoestring budget to build an invention that can change the world, net neutrality matters.
  • For the small family business that depends on online customers to keep its lights on and its doors open, net neutrality matters.
  • For the blog writer or local journalist who works each day to bring us important news about our communities, our government, and our world, net neutrality matters.
  • For every American who uses the internet for any reason, net neutrality matters.

 

Ingenuity is America's DNA. It is that spirit of curiosity and adventure that has put us at the forefront of the search for what's next. Government works best when it makes sure that everyone has equal access to the resources that make that possible.

In Massachusetts, Free Press, the Massachusetts Chapter of the ACLU, Fight for the Future, and countless other groups have led the fight to defend net neutrality and helped citizens make their voices heard. I urge every American to speak out about why net neutrality matters, and I urge the FCC to abandon its plan to kill net neutrality rules and instead ask our FCC to defend an internet that is fair and open to all.

 

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