Franken, top Dems blast FCC over net neutrality proposal

Franken, top Dems blast FCC over net neutrality proposal
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Sens. Al FrankenAlan (Al) Stuart FrankenOvernight Tech: Senate panel subpoenaed ex-Yahoo chief | Twitter gives all users 280 characters | FBI can't access Texas shooter's phone | EU wants tax answers from Apple Week ahead: DHS nominee heads before Senate | Ex-Yahoo chief to testify on hack | Senators dig into election security Feinstein: Sessions should re-testify on Russia meetings MORE (D-Minn.) and Ron WydenRonald (Ron) Lee WydenLobbying World Overnight Regulation: House to vote on repealing joint-employer rule | EPA won't say which areas don't meet Obama smog rule | Lawmakers urge regulators to reject Perry plan New tax plan will hinder care for older Americans MORE (D-Ore.) and former Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Tom Wheeler on Wednesday blasted the Trump-era FCC’s campaign against net neutrality.

In an op-ed for the Washington Post, the three Democrats urged consumers to mobilize against the proceeding when the FCC solicits public comment next month.

“It’s amazing that Trump, having promised to stand up to the powerful on behalf of ordinary Americans, now has an FCC that gives the powerful what they ask for — even if it hurts consumers,” the trio wrote.

“So with powerful forces pushing to get rid of net neutrality — Comcast, AT&T, Verizon and other multibillion-dollar companies — it’s going to take Americans speaking up to protect the Internet that we depend on. In 2014, nearly 4 million Americans contacted the FCC, with an overwhelming majority sending a very simple message: protect net neutrality.”

Ajit Pai (R), the sitting FCC chairman, announced in a speech to conservative groups on Wednesday that the agency would start the proceedings to unravel the net neutrality rules, which prohibit internet service providers from favoring or discriminating against web traffic to certain sites.

Pai has argued that the rules are an example of regulatory overreach that stifles innovation.

On May 18, the FCC will vote on a notice of proposed rulemaking, which will allow for the public to give their input on the proposal and get the ball rolling on the repeal process.

“Net neutrality is good for consumers, small businesses and rural America. It creates jobs, especially at small businesses,” the three Democrats wrote on Wednesday. 

“The software that runs agricultural tools, the point-of-sale operating systems in our restaurants, the newest idea from a dorm room or a garage — all function in an Internet ecosystem that is equal and won’t allow Big Cable and others to prioritize one piece of Internet traffic over another.”