Senators demand vote to save open internet

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH) Friday joined 48 of his colleagues in the Senate to demand that House Speaker Paul Ryan immediately schedule a vote on the bipartisan, Senate-passed legislation that would overturn the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) decision to repeal net neutrality rules.

In their letter, Senate Democrats urged Ryan to bring to the floor the resolution that the Senate passed 22 days ago. With the rules set to officially expire in just three days, Brown said it is critical Congress protect Ohioans’ right to a free and open internet.

“Net neutrality is about keeping the internet accessible for small businesses, students, entrepreneurs, startups and Ohioans looking for jobs,” Brown said. “We shouldn’t be putting internet access out of reach for Ohioans to pad the pockets of the biggest telecomm executives.”

“Without these protections, broadband providers can decide what content gets through to consumers at what speeds and could use this power to discriminate against their competitors or other content,” the Senators said in their letter to Ryan. “Under this new regime, the internet would no longer be a level playing field. Instead, big corporations who could pay would enjoy the benefits of a fast lane and speedy delivery of their content to consumers while those who could not pay these tolls – such as startups and small businesses, schools, rural Americans, and communities of color – would be disadvantaged.”

In December 2017, the FCC voted to repeal the 2015 Open Internet Order, which prohibits internet service providers from setting up internet fast and slow lanes and ensured they could not block or slow down internet traffic. Since the December vote, Brown has been fighting to keep the internet free and open from corporate interference, including:

— Brown and several of his colleagues introduced a resolution of disapproval to rescind FCC Chairman Ajit Pai’s move and fully restore the Open Internet Order.

— Ahead of the repeal vote in December, Brown requested the FCC delay the vote in two separate letters, available here and here.

— Brown also lead his colleagues in urging the FCC Chairman Ajit Pai to delay the planned December 14 vote to roll back net neutrality rules until an investigation be conducted after reports that bots filed hundreds of thousands of comments to the FCC during the rulemaking process.

— In May, the Senate voted in favor of a resolution to preserve net neutrality rules. Brown supported this reinstatement of rules in order to protect Ohioans’ right to a free and open internet.