Doyle Unveils Bill to Restore Net Neutrality Protection for Consumers, Innovators, and Small Businesses

March 6, 2019
Press Release

Doyle speaks at press conference announcing Net Neutrality bill

Washington, DC – U.S. Representative Mike Doyle (PA-18) unveiled legislation to restore Net Neutrality at a press conference this morning with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (CA-12), Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), and Senator Ed Markey (D-MA).

“The Save the Internet Act would enact true net neutrality protections by codifying the FCC’s 2015 Open Internet Order, as a new free-standing section of law that would ensure the Internet remain an open platform for innovation and competition,” Congressman Doyle said at the press conference.

The Save the Internet Act would prohibit internet service providers from blocking, throttling, or engaging in paid prioritization; close loopholes by empowering the FCC to stop unjust, unreasonable, and discriminatory practices; foster innovation and competition by ensuring fair and equal access to broadband for start-ups, small businesses, and entrepreneurs; and promote deployment and access to broadband for consumers and businesses in rural, suburban, and urban areas across America.

Congressman Doyle will introduce the Save the Internet Act later this week in the House, and Senator Markey plans to introduce a companion bill soon in the Senate.

This bill would empower the FCC to assist consumers with complaints against their internet service provider – and enforce and fine internet service providers for violations; expand its authority to promote access and adoption of broadband across the country through universal service funding; facilitate broadband deployment by ensuring fair access to utility poles, ducts, conduits, and rights-of-way; protect the privacy of internet service provider customers’ account data; and ensure access to service for people with disabilities.

ISPs have a long history of using their control over the link between internet users and the Internet Backbone to block – or extract money from – consumers and “edge providers”. That’s bad for consumers, bad for many businesses, and bad for the economy. It also slows down technological innovation and provides a serious obstacle to online start-ups, reducing our global competitiveness and slowing improvements in Americans’ standard of living.

The long history of anti-competitive, anti-consumer behavior by ISPs compelled the FCC to establish rules protecting Net Neutrality a number of years ago, and to ratchet up its rules in response to ISP violations of – and legal challenges to – Net Neutrality through 2015, when the Commission adopted the Open Internet Order

Under the Open Internet Order, consumers had the right to access the content of their choice on the Internet, and content providers had the right to access consumers without having to pay tolls or have their service blocked or degraded by an ISP. The Open Internet Order prohibited Internet Service Providers from using their position between consumers and the Internet to advantage themselves, their own products and services, or third parties that want preferential treatment.

The Trump FCC under Chairman Ajit Pai voted in 2017 to kill the Open Internet Order.

Representative Doyle and Senator Markey led an effort to enact legislation under the Congressional Review Act to overturn the Trump FCC’s action. The bill was approved by the Senate, but the House Republican Leadership refused to bring it to the House Floor.

Control of the House of Representatives changed hands in January 2019, improving the prospects for passing legislation to restore Net Neutrality.

Congressman Doyle and Chairman Pallone also announced today that the House Energy and Commerce Committee’s Communications and Technology Subcommittee will hold a legislative hearing on restoring net neutrality protections on Tuesday, March 12, at 10:00 am in the John D. Dingell Room, 2123 of the Rayburn House Office Building.  The hearing will be entitled, “Legislating to Safeguard the Free and Open Internet.”  Information for this hearing, including the Committee Memorandum, the legislation, witness list and testimony, and a live webcast, will be posted here as they become available.

Click here to read Congressman Doyle’s remarks.

Click here for bill text.

Click here for comments of support from consumer groups.