Washington, D.C. –In a letter to Federal Communications Commission Chairman Tom Wheeler, U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, along with nine of her Senate colleagues, called for the FCC to protect net neutrality and reject efforts by big cable companies to extort businesses for the right to provide content at the fastest Internet speeds.
Net neutrality – the principle that all Internet traffic travels at the same speed, regardless of its source – governed the Internet for decades, to the benefit of innovators, consumers and the U.S. economy.
Senator Gillibrand, along with Senators Ron Wyden, D-Ore., Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., Cory Booker, D-N.J., Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., Al Franken, D-Minn., Ed Markey, D-Mass., Jeff Merkley, D-Ore., Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., and Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass, asked Wheeler to send a clear message that big cable companies will not be allowed to end net neutrality and divide the Internet into fast and slow lanes.
“Consumers and innovators cannot afford to wander through this regulatory murk any longer. The time has come for the FCC to adopt Net Neutrality rules that provide clear, strong protections for the Open Internet and all Americans, once and for all,” the senators wrote.
Wheeler circulated a proposal earlier this month that would allow Internet service providers to create “paid prioritization” of Internet traffic – where companies could pay a premium for their videos, websites and other services to access special fast lanes unavailable to other web companies.
“Sanctioning paid prioritization would allow discrimination and irrevocably change the Internet as we know it,” the senators wrote. “Small businesses, content creators and Internet users must not be held hostage by an increasingly consolidated broadband industry.”
The FCC is scheduled to vote on the proposed rules on Thursday, May 15, although two commissioners asked to delay the vote following public outcry about the proposal.
The full letter to the FCC is online here.