Rep. Nadler: FCC Ruling Undermines Equal Internet Access

May 15, 2014 Issues: Jobs, Labor and the Economy

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Congressman Jerrold Nadler (NY-10), the Ranking Member of the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Courts, Intellectual Property and the Internet, sent a letter to Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Thomas Wheeler regarding this morning’s proposed rule that was passed by the FCC.

“Unfortunately, the proposed rule that passed the FCC today will undermine the principles of net neutrality and the open internet. The FCC must maintain net neutrality by reclassifying broadband providers as common carriers. We must not allow for a pay-to-play internet where one company can refuse to allow fast access to another company unless they pay a premium,” said Rep. Nadler. “This type of online discrimination is unacceptable, will lead to anti-competitive behavior, and will stifle innovation. Chairman Wheeler has said that he does not want to allow the creation of fast and slow lanes on the internet, but I am afraid today’s FCC proposal will do just that.”

Full text of the letter

The Honorable Thomas Wheeler
Chairman
Federal Communications Commission
445 12th Street, SW
Washington, DC 20554

Dear Chairman Wheeler,

I urge you to lead the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) efforts to maintain net neutrality by reclassifying broadband providers as common carriers. Unfortunately, the proposed rule that passed the FCC today will undermine the principles of net neutrality and the open internet.

We must not allow for a pay-to-play internet where one company can refuse to allow fast access to another company unless they pay a premium.  This type of online discrimination is unacceptable, will lead to anti-competitive behavior, and will stifle innovation.  What if Verizon decided to block access to YouTube?  What if a cable company decided to throttle a competing service that attempted to provide video services over the internet?  What if a smaller competitor with a great idea cannot afford to pay an additional fee for access to the internet’s fast lane?  Again, innovation would suffer and ultimately consumers would be harmed.  Everyone deserves equal access at equal speeds – no blocking and no discrimination ought to be tolerated.

You have said that you do not want to allow the creation of fast and slow lanes on the internet, but I am afraid your proposal will do just that.  As you know, the January court ruling made clear that the FCC could reverse its 2002 decision and move to reclassify broadband providers as common carriers.  This would allow the FCC to enforce stronger rules to ensure an open and free internet that would best serve the needs of consumers. 

Again, I urge you to lead the FCC in reclassifying broadband providers as common carriers without delay in order to ensure that everyone has equal access to the internet.  Thank you.

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