Mr. President, two years ago this week, Ajit Pai and the Trump FCC wiped out net neutrality, giving Big Cable more power to reach into their customers’ pockets and control what they can do online.
Net neutrality is all about the free and open internet. It says that once you have access to the internet, you get to go where you want, when you want and how you want.
It’s good for consumers, who can learn and communicate and enjoy entertainment however they want. And it’s good for small businesses, because a free and open internet means unfettered access to more customers.
Ajit Pai and Donald Trump are opposed to that kind of internet freedom, so they got rid of it. They decided that once you pay for access to the internet, you should get to go where Big Cable wants, when Big Cable wants and how Big Cable wants.
Essentially, it’s about whether Big Cable gets to rig the internet in favor of those who can afford to pay more, and shake down everybody else.
These companies are already tricking people into buying so-called unlimited service plans that limit their service. People have uncovered the way they’ve throttled service for particular users – including first responders in times of emergency.
Mega-mergers involving telecom and entertainment companies are also limiting competition and threatening to fracture the internet into small bundles that cost big money.
Without net neutrality, you’re heading in a direction where consumers pay a lot more for entertainment and information, and small businesses don’t have a prayer of competing with the big guys online.
Fortunately, the courts recently said that the Trump administration cannot overrule the states on net neutrality. Oregon has a strong net neutrality law on the books. Many other states do as well.
And here in the Congress, Democrats are going to keep up the fight to protect consumers from Ajit Pai and the Trump FCC.
My friend Senator Markey has been a crusader for net neutrality for a long time. He and I have been waging this battle for more than a decade. He introduced the first real net neutrality legislation as a member of the House, and I introduced the first real legislation here in the Senate.
Today he’s calling for the Senate to pass his legislation protecting the free and open internet – bringing back net neutrality for the entire country. I stand with him 100 percent.
Otherwise, what you’re going to see is Big Cable companies continuing to ratchet up the cost of open internet access bit by bit, little by little, hoping nobody notices or complains. They’re going to disguise their price hikes and data limits by advertising flashy discounts on bundles of content.
But in the end, it’s still a bad deal for the consumer, because Ajit Pai and Donald Trump’s FCC decided to put Big Cable company profits over the interests of individual Americans.
Senator Markey has my absolute support for his legislation today, and I look forward to keeping up the fight with him in the future.