Saving the Net
This week, the U.S. House of Representatives took an important step to ensure that the internet remains free and open for all Americans.
On Wednesday, the House passed the Save the Internet Act (H.R. 1644), a bill that restores bipartisan Net Neutrality protections and guards consumers and small businesses against abusive practices by internet service providers.
In 2017, the Federal Communications Commission – under the leadership of Trump Administration appointee Ajit Pai – ended Net Neutrality rules. In doing so, they opened the door for internet service providers to act as online gatekeepers who could block or slow access to certain websites, or charge consumers more money for specific content or for faster internet access.
In light of the Trump FCC’s decision, I held a community forum in Baltimore with Former FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler and other subject-matter experts. We learned more about how the elimination of Net Neutrality rules would raise costs for Maryland consumers and small businesses. Hearing these important perspectives helped underscore the urgency of passing the Save the Internet Act.
This critical bill will prevent wealthy, powerful and well-connected internet service providers from assuming more control over the internet and making Americans pay more money to access high-speed online services or content by:
- Strengthening transparency protections, enacting specific rules against blocking, throttling, and paid prioritization and empowering the FCC to investigate consumer and business complaints and fine internet service providers that violate the Communications Act;
- Protecting consumers against unjust, unreasonable and discriminatory practices – and promoting competition;
- Ensuring consumers can make informed decisions when shopping for internet plans; and
- Restoring the FCC’s authority to fund broadband access for rural communities, working Americans, veterans, seniors, students and disabled Americans.
The Save the Internet Act will ensure that everyone has equal and affordable access to the internet.
Congressman John Sarbanes
Maryland’s Third Congressional District