House Approves “Save the Internet Act”

Washington, DC – U.S. Representative Mike Doyle (PA-18) announced that earlier today the U.S. House of Representatives approved his legislation to restore Net Neutrality – H.R. 1644, the “Save the Internet Act.”

“House approval of the Save the Internet Act is a big victory for consumers and a major step towards restoring Net Neutrality and making it a permanent law,” Congressman Doyle said after passage of the bill on a bipartisan vote of 232 to 190. “Now supporters of Net Neutrality have to get it through the Senate.”

“Today, the House voted to restore a free and open internet for the American people.  The Save the Internet Act reinstates net neutrality and protects consumers from internet service providers slowing down, blocking, or charging more for accessing certain sites,” Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Frank Pallone said.  “I want to thank Chairman Doyle for his leadership on this important measure. The American people are rightfully demanding that critical net neutrality protections be restored in law, and I’m hopeful this strong House vote helps build momentum for action in the Senate.”

“The free and open internet is an essential engine of innovation, job creation and free speech for all Americans,” said Speaker Nancy Pelosi. “In Congress, Chairman Mike Doyle has been a champion in the fight to protect net neutrality, and his relentless leadership was critical to passing the Save the Internet Act.  Thanks to his dedicated work and the energy and activism of Americans across the country who made their voices heard, Democrats are ensuring that America’s consumers and small businesses have a level playing field on which to compete, and that American dynamism and entrepreneurialism continue to be the envy of the world.”

“People around the country care deeply about a free and open internet because it is critical for so many communities and sectors of our economy.” Doyle said on the House Floor during debate on H.R. 1644. “The legislation that we are considering here today charts a new course for Net Neutrality and would put in place 21st Century rules for a 21st Century Internet.”

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.

This bill would empower the FCC to assist consumers with complaints against their internet service provider – 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.

Click here for comments of support from consumer groups.

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