Over 100 activist groups urge McConnell to take up net neutrality bill in the Senate

Aaron Schwartz

A coalition of more than 100 activist groups is urging Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) to take up a bill in the upper chamber to restore net neutrality after the House voted overwhelmingly for the legislation earlier this year.

The 103 public interest groups are urging McConnell in a letter to immediately bring the Save the Internet Act, which would reinstate Obama-era net neutrality rules, to a vote in the Senate. 

{mosads}In response, a McConnell spokesperson directed The Hill to remarks from the majority leader earlier this year, in which he called the Save the Internet Act “dead on arrival in the Senate.”

The groups are planning to deliver the letter to McConnell on Tuesday morning, on the one-year anniversary of the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) repeal of net neutrality rules.

“Senator McConnell, we call on you to enact the will of hundreds of millions of people who support open internet protections and broadband competition, and the millions who have taken action demanding them, by allowing Senators to vote on the Save the Internet Act,” the groups wrote. 

The Save the Internet Act would reinstate net neutrality rules prohibiting internet service providers from interfering with web traffic. But the bill is a non-starter for many Republicans, as it opens up the broadband industry to stringent regulations enforced by the FCC that the GOP has long opposed.  

Various net neutrality advocates are also planning to deliver a collection of over 3 million pro-net neutrality public comments and petition signatures to McConnell’s office on Tuesday. They will hold a daylong campaign urging supporters to email and call their senators about the issue.

In the letter, the groups pointed to recent polling reported by The Hill that shows 4 in 5 Americans say they support net neutrality. 

They also highlighted several instances that occurred over the past year that they said illustrate the need for net neutrality protections, including reports that telecom companies were slowing streaming speeds to YouTube and Netflix and that Sprint has been accused of interfering with competitor Skype. 

“Americans want and deserve enforceable protections that preserve net neutrality, ensure stronger broadband competition, and improve access,” they wrote. “They don’t want big cable and phone companies controlling what they see, say, and do online. They want more choices and more affordable internet access service.”

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