Public interest groups urge officials to protect net neutrality

Public interest groups urge officials to protect net neutrality
© Greg Nash

A coalition of 171 public interest groups sent a letter to Federal Communications Commission and Senate leaders on Tuesday urging them not to dismantle the net neutrality rules from 2015.

The ACLU, Greenpeace, MoveOn.org and Public Knowledge were among the groups signing on to the letter favoring the regulations, which prohibit internet service providers from discriminating against traffic to certain sites.

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“Protecting net neutrality is crucial to ensuring that the internet remains a central driver of economic growth and opportunity, job creation, education, free expression, and civic organizing for everyone,” the letter reads.

The message was addressed to FCC Chairman Ajit Pai, Senate Commerce Committee Chairman John ThuneJohn Randolph ThuneDemocrats press for action on election security Prospects for Trump gun deal grow dimmer Trump, lawmakers consider app that would conduct background checks: report MORE (R-S.D.) and Ranking Member Bill NelsonClarence (Bill) William NelsonAl Franken says he 'absolutely' regrets resigning Democrats target Florida Hispanics in 2020 Poll: Six Democrats lead Trump in Florida match-ups MORE (D-Fla.).

On Wednesday, Pai and the FCC commissioners will appear before the Senate panel for the first oversight hearing of the agency under the Trump administration, and net neutrality is sure to be among the topics that Democrats will be raising.

Pai has signaled his intention to go after the landmark net neutrality rules, which passed under his Democratic predecessor. 

Republicans and the telecom industry have taken issue with the rules because they reclassified service providers as common carriers, which opened them up to tougher regulation from the FCC.

Arguing that the rules support competition, innovation, free speech and equal access on the internet, the letter urges the officials to oppose any new regulatory or legislative action that would undermine net neutrality.

“In order to promote continued economic, social, and political growth and innovation, it is imperative that the internet remain open and accessible to all people in the future,” the groups wrote.