WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senators Tom Udall and Martin Heinrich joined in sending a letter led by U.S. Senator Ed Markey (D-Mass) to Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Ajit Pai expressing strong opposition to the Chairman’s plans to gut net neutrality protections. In 2015, the FCC adopted the Open Internet Order which reclassified broadband as a telecommunication service and prohibited internet service providers from setting up internet fast and slow lanes, ensuring all online traffic is treated the same. Next week, the FCC plans to vote on a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking that would undermine the Open Internet Order and begin the process of reclassifying broadband back to an information service.
In the letter, the senators highlight that elimination of the Open Internet Order and reclassifying broadband as an information service would prohibit the FCC from adopting other important protections, such as expanding the Lifeline program to broadband, protecting subscribers’ broadband privacy, and promoting broadband competition.
“Net neutrality rules protect the free flow of ideas that are creating new industries, educating our youth, promoting free speech, and supporting the communications that we rely on every day,” write the senators in the letter to Chairman Pai. “Without the Open Internet Order, Internet Service Providers could discriminate against certain services, potentially distorting competition, stifling innovation, and hampering user choice and free expression.”
Also signing the letter are U.S. Senators Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Al Franken (D-Minn.), Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), and Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.).
A copy of the letter can be found here.