Leahy, Sanders and Welch back legislation to restore net neutrality

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Leahy, Sanders and Welch back legislation to restore net neutrality

Thu, 03/07/2019 - 1:03pm -- Brandon

Vermont Business Magazine The legislation would overturn a 2017 anti-consumer move by the Trump administration’s Federal Communications Commission (FCC) that gutted net neutrality protections enacted by the Obama Administration. Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Rep. Peter Welch (D-Vt.) joined House and Senate colleagues in the legislation's introduction to restore a free and open internet.

In a joint statement, Leahy, Sanders, and Welch said: “A free and open internet is essential to our economy, a free flow of ideas, creativity, and participatory democracy. The Administration’s decision to repeal net neutrality is bad for our democracy and bad for consumers and entrepreneurs, especially in rural areas, and a gift to the big telecom companies who can now pick and choose who has access to the internet and at what speed. Our legislation will reverse this anti-consumer move and ensure that the internet remains open and accessible to all Americans.”

The Save the Internet Act restores the FCC’s 2015 Open Internet Order similar to last year’s Congressional Review Act that passed the Senate and had bipartisan support in the House.  Specifically, it:

  • Strengthens transparency protections, enacting specific rules against blocking, throttling, and paid prioritization, and empowers the FCC to investigate consumer and business complaints and fine internet service providers for violations of the Communications Act;
  • Protects consumers against unjust, unreasonable, and discriminatory practices, and promotes competition;
  • Ensures consumers can make informed decisions when shopping for internet plans; and
  • Restores the FCC’s authority to fund broadband access for rural communities, working Americans, veterans, seniors, students and disabled Americans.

The legislation is led by Rep. Michael Doyle (D-Pa.) in the House and Senator Edward Markey (D-Mass.) in the Senate. It would overturn the FCC decision in its entirety.

"The Declaratory Ruling, Report and Order, and Order in the matter of restoring internet freedom that was adopted by the Commission on December 14, 2017 (FCC 17–166) shall have no force or effect."

The bill also says that the FCC may not issue a similar decision without explicit permission from Congress.

"The Declaratory Ruling, Report and Order, and Order described in paragraph (1) may not be reissued in substantially the same form, and a new rule that is substantially the same as such Declaratory Ruling, Report and Order, and Order may not be issued, unless the reissued or new rule is specifically authorized by a law enacted after the date of the enactment of this Act."

For full text of the legislation, click here.