By Ramsey Cox
Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) said the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) decision to rewrite net neutrality rules would result in “the end of the Internet as we know it” and demanded that President Obama try to stop it.
Last week, the FCC voted to rewrite the net neutrality rules, which kept Internet providers from blocking or slowing access to certain websites. A federal court struck down that rule earlier this year.
FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler has suggested allowing Internet providers to sell “fast lanes” to websites for better access to users and reclassifying Internet providers to treat them the same as heavily regulated telephone companies. The public has been asked to comment over the coming weeks.
Internet companies including Netflix and Google have lobbied on the FCC to reclassify Internet providers, warning the agency that Wheeler’s “fast lane” proposal would create a tiered Internet where websites have to pay more for access to users.
“This is grotesquely unfair and will be a disaster for our economy and small businesses all around the country,” Sanders said. “We cannot allow our democracy to once again be sold to the highest bidder.”
Sanders said that although the FCC is an independent federal agency, Obama should publicly denounce Wheeler’s proposal.
— Kate Tummarello contributed to this article.