In December 2017, I joined more than 100 of my colleagues in writing to FCC Chairman Ajit Pai urging him to remove consideration of his plan overturning the 2015 Open Internet Order from the Commission’s agenda. I have fought — and will continue to fight — efforts to allow providers to block or throttle content, or give preference to some internet users at the expense of others. We must protect a free and open internet.
However, I also believe that we cannot keep putting band-aids on this issue. Congress must update the Communications Act of 1934, by bringing it into the 21st Century.
The more than 80-year-old Communications Act is inadequate for today’s 21st Century internet; its framework is in dire need of reform. In recent years, the FCC has sought to regulate internet service providers first under Section 706 of the Telecommunications Act of 1996, and later by reclassifying broadband internet access service as a telecommunications service.
Yet, in the absence of new legislation, these efforts have either been vacated by the courts or overturned by a new Commission Chairman.
We must enshrine a free and open internet into law and put all of our energy into updating the Communications Act in the next Congress.
That is why I stand ready to work with Democrats and Republicans, under the leadership of the Energy and Commerce Committee, to codify strong consumer protections, preserve net neutrality, and maintain a framework that ensures that U.S. continues to lead the world in competitiveness and innovation online. We must prohibit anti-competitive practices like blocking, throttling, paid prioritization, and discrimination in favor of affiliated content providers. We must also have robust protections to safeguard the privacy of consumers’ sensitive information.
If we want the innovation economy and entrepreneurs to thrive, we cannot pick winners and losers online. We must allow all innovation and innovators to flourish, so we can maintain our global leadership.