Rep. Doyle Unveils Bill to Restore Net Neutrality Protection

Mar 6, 2019 | Original Press Release here.

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).

Congressman Doyle said at the press conference.

“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.”

The Save the Internet Act would do the following:

  • 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 entitled, “Legislating to Safeguard the Free and Open Internet.

  • When: Tuesday, March 12, at 10:00 am
  • Where: in the John D. Dingell Room, 2123 of the Rayburn House Office Building.

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.

  • Link to bill text.

  • Link to comments of support from consumer groups.

Sarah Morris, Deputy Director of New America’s Open Technology Institute:

"The bill announced today is the right path forward for Congress. Rather than reinvent the wheel, lawmakers should draw on the work done by the FCC to carefully consider both the need for clear, bright-line rules as well as the appropriateness of oversightto consider evolving and future harms. As OTI has documented extensively, interconnection-related consumer harms are a serious and immediate threat to internet openness, and those harms are not adequately prevented by the three bright-line protections. This bill is a common sense approach that isunderscored by widespread, bipartisan support from the American public."

Mark Stanley, Director of Communications for Demand Progress:

"Demand Progress supports the push to fully restore the open internet rules gutted by Chairman Ajit Pai’s FCC. The repeal of net neutrality serves only Big Telecom executives and the army of lobbyists they employ on Capitol Hill, while sticking it to ordinary Americans who rely on the internet to organize, do business, and access the information they choose."

Matt Wood, Vice President of Policy and General Counsel for Free Press Action:

"Free Press Action thanks these congressional leaders for this bold and vital step, returning to the best framework for restoring Net Neutralityand a whole host of fundamental rights that internet users need. The Save The Internet Act follows the facts, recognizing that the 2015 Open Internet Order and the laws on which it stood were exactly right for the job. It draws on the overwhelming bipartisan support for this approach, including support among vast majorities of Republican, Democratic and independent voters. And the bill rejects lobbyists’ empty rhetoric and evidence-free claims, understanding that broadband investment continued and deployment increased with the 2015 Open Internet Order in place."

Francella Ochillo, VicePresident of Policy & General Counsel, National Hispanic MediaCoalition:

"Historically Latinos have been shut out of traditional media outlets, denied social justice, or sidelined from economic opportunities.They are among the millions of Americans who recognize the importance of an open internet and support regulations that prevent Internet Service Providers from setting up new barriers to get online, a place wherethey have found their voices and a captive audience.Today’s announcement is proof that members of Congress are listening and willing to stand up for public interest. Weapplaud these efforts."

Chris Lewis, Vice President at Public Knowledge:

"Senator Markey, Rep. Doyle and allies have put forward a simple, consensus approach to restoring strong net neutrality protections, and we are happy to support their proposal. This proposal is simple yet strong because it relies on restoring the FCC rules that were upheldin court twice. The 2015 rules were carefully crafted to have a light touch on broadband through its many forbearances. It also avoids many of the pitfalls of other weak proposals this year that ask Americans to trade away important consumer protections at the FCC in exchange for only pieces of these net neutrality protections."

Rashad Robinson, President of Color of Change:

"Restoring strong net neutrality protections is vital for Black communities and all communities of color, who depend on an open andfree Internet to succeed in educational and business pursuits, express joy and creativity, organize for political power, and fight injustice –without fear of censorship by an ISP. Our communities require the full potential of the internet to thrive in the 21stcentury; net neutrality is how we move Black voices and issues into the mainstream without needing the approval of gatekeepers. We applaud Democratic leadership for introducing this legislation and taking an important step toward ensuring our communities’ civil rights are recognized and protected in the digital sphere."

Erin Shields, Center for Media Justice:

"The Center for Media Justice is pleased to see the fight to restore our digital civil rights remains a priority in Congress with the introduction of the Save The Internet Act. That is, in no small part, thanks to the outpouring of anger and concern following the deeply unpopular and unnecessary Federal Communications Commission’s repeal of net neutrality. Unlike many other issues beforeCongress, net neutrality enjoys support from all sides of the political spectrum across the country. Communities know the right to speak and be heard online is not an issue of partisan politics but of fundamental civil rights. We will continue to lift up the leadership of communities of color in the fight for equal voice online and look forward to working with congressional members to see the passing of this critical piece of legislation."

Jonathan Schwantes, Senior Policy Counsel for Consumer Reports:

"This legislation gives consumers exactly what they want, an internet that is an open marketplace for all, and that puts the American people ahead of huge cable companies and internet service providers. Millions of consumers urged the FCC to scrap its plansto repeal the strong net neutrality rules passed in 2015, but the Commission ignored the overwhelming public support. Today’s legislation will restore what consumers lost last year. A similar version of this legislation passed the Senate with bipartisan support just 10 months ago, and now should be no different. The future of the internet is too important to leave in the hands of powerful corporate interests. Consumer Reports strongly endorses this pro-consumer legislation, and will work hard to see it enacted into law this year."

Evan Greer, Deputy Director ofFight for the Future:

"People from across the political spectrum are still furious about the FCC’s corrupt repeal of net neutrality. Put simply, the Save the Internet Act is the only real net neutrality bill out there. This is a simple up or down vote on the future of the Internet and our most basic rights in the digital age. Telecom lobbyists and their friends in Congress seem to think that Internet users are incredibly gullible. They’ve introduced three separate pieces of "trojan horse" legislation in a cynical attempt to muddy the waters and confuse the public. But we won’t be fooled, and neither will the hundreds of millions of people who we’ve mobilized to fight for real net neutrality. The Save the Internet Act is one of the few pieces of Congressional legislation that actually does what it says in the title."

Ernesto Falcon, Legislative Counsel for the Electronic Frontier Foundation:

"The Electronic Frontier Foundation has been fighting for Internet users and innovators for nearly 30 years. We support this effort by Congress to restore the 2015 Open Internet Order. Millions of Americans across the country denounced the FCC’s decision to upend that 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 both common sense, market realities, and the public interest. This bill sets things right, following a clear mandate from the American people."