By Craig Aaron, Free Press
This morning I joined a press conference with Sens. Ed Markey (D–Massachusetts), Richard Blumenthal (D–Connecticut) and Ron Wyden (D–Oregon), as well as Evan Greer of Fight for the Future, to talk about the Trump FCC’s threats to Net Neutrality. Below are my prepared remarks:
Donald Trump’s FCC is trying to erase one of the most important public interest victories ever at the agency — the 2015 vote that established strong Net Neutrality rules and restored the FCC’s authority to enforce them.
FCC Chairman Ajit Pai is trying to take that all away and leave people everywhere at the mercy of the phone and cable companies — some of the most-hated companies in America.
Millions have spoken out for Net Neutrality — and not just because the open internet is a popular cause. Net Neutrality is sound public policy, safeguarding the same principles that have worked since the beginning of the internet.
The FCC’s 2015 ruling represented a return to fundamental laws — Title II of the Communications Act — that Congress wrote for the FCC to follow. In 2016, the federal courts upheld the FCC’s rules and authority. The record is clear and so is the law.
Let’s review: Congress has spoken. The FCC has spoken. The courts have spoken. And the people have spoken — loud and clear and repeatedly — saying that they want real Net Neutrality and need an FCC that will stand up to Comcast, Verizon and AT&T.
None of that is good enough for Ajit Pai. In place of these fundamental protections, Pai is putting forward a proposal that would ask these companies to voluntarily commit to protecting the web’s open and democratic nature.
In Ajit Pai’s fantasy world, all will be fine if the companies double-pinky-swear not to interfere with online pathways and portals — despite their long history of doing just that.
His justification for launching this attack on internet users is the utterly false and repeatedly debunked claim that the FCC rules are dampening investment to build out and improve networks. Do not believe Pai’s alternative facts.
The reality is that in the two years since the FCC’s 2015 vote, we’ve actually seen an explosion in over-the-top video competition as well as a dramatic increase in next-generation broadband network deployment. Aggregate investments by publicly traded ISPs are up by more than 5 percent since the order came down.
The only uncertainty in the market comes from Ajit Pai. He seeks to repeal successful rules and leave nothing in their place but cable-company promises to be good.
That’s just not good enough.
The public won’t be fooled by Chairman Pai’s laughable plan or the empty promises of telecom executives. The free and open internet is just too important to our ability to communicate, to organize and to innovate — and we will fight with everything we’ve got against those trying to take it away.