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 FrankenGOP eying 'blue slip' break to help Trump fill the courts Overnight Regulation: FTC launches probe into Equifax | Dems propose tougher data security rules | NYC aims to slash greenhouse gas emissions | EPA to reconsider Obama coal ash rule Overnight Cybersecurity: Kaspersky to testify before House | US sanctions Iranians over cyberattacks | Equifax reveals flaw that led to hack MORE (D-Minn.) and Ron WydenRonald (Ron) Lee WydenSenate Dems hold floor talk-a-thon against latest ObamaCare repeal bill Overnight Defense: Senate passes 0B defense bill | 3,000 US troops heading to Afghanistan | Two more Navy officials fired over ship collisions Finance to hold hearing on ObamaCare repeal bill 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.”