Sen. Reid vows to protect net neutrality

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) is pledging to protect net neutrality from Republican attacks.

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In letters to net neutrality advocates this week, Reid said he supports forthcoming rules to keep Internet providers from discriminating against certain Internet traffic and will protect those rules from Senate Republicans. 

“Let me be clear: I support net neutrality,” he wrote, while pledging to “lead the fight” to protect net neutrality rules “against the inevitable Republican attack against such rules.”

“I believe that the Internet is one of the great equalizers of our time,” he wrote.

“Especially in a time when dark money threatens to take over our political system, the Internet offers a forum for people to make a difference with ideas, not dollars.”

Reid’s letter comes as the Federal Communications Commission rewrites its net neutrality rules, which kept Internet providers from blocking or slowing access to certain websites before a federal court struck them down earlier this year.

Although FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler initially focused on rewriting the rules in a way that critics worried would allow Internet providers to charge websites for better access to users, the FCC is also considering reclassifying Internet providers to treat them like the more heavily regulated phone companies.

Reid did not weigh in on what approach the agency should take in rewriting those rules but said he is “watching closely as the commission drafts these rules.”

“I will work to ensure that these rules give consumers access to the lawful content they want when they want it, without interference and ensure that priority arrangements that harm consumers are prohibited,” he wrote.