Van Hollen Urges FCC Chairman Pai to Keep Internet Free and Open
Today, U.S. Senator Chris Van Hollen sent a letter to Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Ajit Pai opposing the roll back of the 2015 Open Internet Order and stressing the need for fair and equal internet access.
Senator Van Hollen wrote, "As technology develops and consumers become even more dependent upon internet access, it is imperative that the FCC ensures that the internet is not divided between the have and the have-nots. I trust that you keep in mind the millions of Americans who want unfettered access to the internet and guarantee that everyone has equal access to 'internet freedom.'"
A copy of the letter can be found here and below.
September 28, 2017
Chairman Ajit Pai
Federal Communication Commission
445 12th St SW,
Washington, DC 20554
Dear Chairman Pai,
I am writing in opposition to the 'Restoring Internet Freedom' Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) that would roll back the 2015 Open Internet Order.
I appreciate your stated commitment to expanding broadband access to rural and underserved communities. Both rural and urban communities in Maryland have had difficulties expanding high-speed internet access to their residents. Economic opportunities are often limited in areas without broadband. I agree with you that the government and private enterprise should work together to address the digital divide. Jobs in rural Maryland, and rural areas across the country, are at stake.
It is also critical that broadband service provides fair and equal access to all users, regardless of socioeconomic status. Numerous polls have shown that Americans, across the political spectrum, overwhelmingly support regulations that would prevent broadband companies from discriminating against certain data. A free and open internet, safeguarded with the certainty of the FCC's Title II authority, is essential to foster innovation and choice. The comprehensive consumer protections in Title II will ensure that the FCC safeguards an open internet for all Marylanders and Americans.
In the NPRM, you stated that the 2015 Open Internet Order has caused a decrease in innovation and broadband infrastructure. You further state that ISPs, both large and small, have curtailed investment in infrastructure and slowed expansion of their networks due to regulatory uncertainty. I challenge you to look beyond the three small ISPs that testified before the Commission and to closely analyze the broadband industry as a whole. Those ISP companies testified a mere two months after the Open Internet Order and recent data suggests that broadband infrastructure investment has increased.
As technology develops and consumers become even more dependent upon internet access, it is imperative that the FCC ensures that the internet is not divided between the have and the have-nots. I trust that you keep in mind the millions of Americans who want unfettered access to the internet and guarantee that everyone has equal access to "internet freedom."
Chris Van Hollen
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