The Save the Internet Act (H.R. 1644) has survived its first vote, 18-11. This is a victory for everyone who wants strong, real net neutrality protections. It is, as is so often the case in the net neutrality battle, a win for the majority of Americans who support these protections against the narrow interests of a few giant Internet service providers (ISPs).
Millions of American across the country denounced the FCC’s decision to repeal the 2015 Open Internet Order and abandon oversight over the broadband industry. Americans overwhelmingly support net neutrality and the privacy and competition protections that accompany it. The FCC nonetheless tried to ignore common sense, market realities, and the public interest. This bill sets things right, following a clear mandate from the American people. We applaud the House Subcommittee on Communications and Technology for listenting to the thousands of you who have spoken up for net neutrality.
The Save the Internet Act would make permanent the 2015 Open Internet Order, restoring its hard-won net neutrality protections. There have been arguments against this bill, many restated during the hearing today. Rep. Greg Walden described the bill as having unnecessary protections, suggesting that all we need are bright line rules against blocking, throttling, and paid prioritization. Walden also listed problems of privacy and speech faced by edge providers like Facebook, Google, and Twitter, asking “What if anything does this bill do to protect users from those potential abuses?” Those are real concerns and EFF has suggested that Congress look at a lot of ways to improve competition on the Internet, but they are different from net neutrality, which requires ISPs to treat data in a non-discriminatory manner. Tackling one set of problems should not mean we abandon the work being done on another. Rep. Debbie Dingell had it correct when she said, “I just want to comment about what we’re really here to do. We’re asking a lot of questions and making it really complicated, and it’s really simple. Today we’re addressing a wrong that was created by Chairman Pai when he abolished net neutrality. And he hurt millions of Americans across this country.”
Rep. Yvette D. Clarke said today, “When ISPs pick winners and losers, it doesn’t just hurt consumers, it also chills competition and innovation.” We agree, and that’s why EFF supports this bill and real net neutrality protections.
The Save the Internet Act is headed for a vote in the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, so keep telling your representatives to support it by co-sponsoring the bill.