Dems warn net neutrality repeal will spark 'public uproar'

Dems warn net neutrality repeal will spark 'public uproar'
© Greg Nash

Sens. Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii) and Cory Booker (D-N.J.) are urging Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Ajit Pai not to go forward with his plan to repeal his agency’s net neutrality rules.

The two Democrats in a letter to Pai said that taking away net neutrality would spark a public uproar similar to the one last month after Republicans dismantled internet privacy rules.

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“Like with the Republican repeal of the FCC’s online privacy rules, there is little public support for your actions,” they wrote.

“Following an onslaught of public furor, congressional Republicans regretted voting to repeal online privacy protection for the public. We believe that public uproar was just a preview of what you can expect as you initiate a proceeding to eliminate net neutrality protections.”

Pai announced in a speech to conservative groups last week that he would start proceedings to roll back the 2015 rules, which prohibit internet service providers from blocking, throttling or discriminating against web traffic to certain sites.

Conservative critics argue the rules go too far by reclassifying broadband providers as a telecommunications industry, which opened them up to public utility-style regulation from the FCC.

Booker and Schatz, the top Democrat on the Senate Commerce technology subcommittee, argued that repealing the rules will allow internet providers to favor certain websites, eliminating the internet’s level playing field.

“In your speech to announce the end of net neutrality, you said ‘this is a fight that we intend to wage and it is a fight that we are going to win,’” their letter reads. “We commit to opposing you and fighting for strong rules that protect users and access to a free and open internet.”