On Anniversary of Net Neutrality Repeal, Common Cause Demands Senator McConnell Allow Vote On Save the Internet Act

Today marks the one year anniversary of the Federal Communications Commission’s repeal of net neutrality. Since the repeal, broadband service providers have been free to block, throttle, or create fast lanes and slow lanes by charging websites extra fees to prioritize their content. Since the repeal, there’s been evidence of broadband service providers throttling speeds, degrading video quality, and creating service plans that favor their own services over competitors.

In April, the House of Representatives passed H.R. 1644, the Save the Internet Act. The bill reverses the repeal of net neutrality and restores the framework in the FCC’s 2015 Open Internet Order. The 2015 framework restores the bright line net neutrality rules and gives the FCC adequate authority to act as a cop on the beat to investigate unjust and unreasonable behavior by broadband service providers.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has declared the Save the Internet Act  “dead on arrival” in the Senate despite an overwhelming majority of Americans – both Republicans and Democrats – that support restoring full net neutrality protections.

Today, Common Cause joined its allies in delivering 3.5 million public comments and petition signatures to Senator McConnell in support of strong net neutrality rules. In conjunction, Senators Markey, Cantwell, and Wyden introduced a unanimous consent motion to demand Senator McConnell bring Save the Internet Act to the Senate floor for a vote.

Statement of Michael Copps, Former FCC Commissioner and Common Cause Special Adviser

“One year ago today, the FCC recklessly and unlawfully repealed its net neutrality rules. Since then, monopoly cable and telephone companies have taken advantage of an uncompetitive and unregulated marketplace where there is no cop on the beat to investigate and enforce against potential net neutrality violations. Studies show broadband providers have throttled popular video streaming services, degraded video quality forcing customers to pay higher prices for improved quality, and created service plans that favor their own services over competitors. Verizon throttling the Santa Clara Fire department during its wildfire response is the most dangerous example of broadband providers abusing their power at a time when consumers have nowhere to turn for net neutrality protections. The harms will only get worse the longer net neutrality remains repealed.

“Outside the beltway, net neutrality is a no-brainer issue. An overwhelming majority of Americans support strong net neutrality rules including 80 percent or higher from Republicans and Independents. Most Americans understand net neutrality is the prerequisite to an open internet where the free flow of information and exchange of ideas is essential for a functioning 21st century democracy.

“Last month, the House vote to pass the Save the Internet Act reflected the overwhelming consensus for strong net neutrality rules.  We demand Senator McConnell listen to the will of the American people and bring the Save the Internet Act to a vote in the Senate.”