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Congressman John Sarbanes

Representing the 3rd District of Maryland

Sarbanes, Wheeler and Industry Experts Push Back Against Special-Interest Efforts to Undo Net Neutrality Rules

At Forum, Baltimore Community Discusses the Importance of Preserving a Free and Open Internet


Jul 26, 2017
Contact: Daniel Jacobs
(202) 225-4016

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman John Sarbanes (D-Md.) and former Federal Communications Commission Chairman Tom Wheeler, along with other notable industry experts, held a forum today at Betamore City Garage in Baltimore to discuss the importance of preserving a free and open internet.

The forum came in response to steps taken by current Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Ajit Pai to eliminate Obama-era rules designed to keep the internet free and open for every American. So-called “net neutrality” rules prevent internet service providers (ISPs) from favoring certain websites and internet companies over others. Without net neutrality rules, ISPs can require websites and internet companies to pay more money for faster internet service or restrict certain content all together. Eliminating net neutrality protections would increase costs for small businesses and consumers, while threatening the dynamism of the internet.

“The Baltimore-metro area is one of the technology industry’s fastest-growing hubs, but without net neutrality rules, our community’s small businesses and consumers might be forced to pay more for online platforms and services,” said Congressman Sarbanes. “We cannot let the internet – this century’s most important economic driver– become hostage to wealthy and well-connected special interests.”

“The internet is the network that defines the 21st century and must be fast, fair and open,” said Chairman Wheeler.

“When I was General Counsel, I never thought the FCC had the last word; I always knew there would be a day in court,” said former FCC General Counsel Jonathan Sallet. “And this one will be critically important to consumers and the future of the internet.”

"Winning strong net neutrality rules in 2015 was concrete proof that ordinary people taking action together can overcome tough odds and well-funded special interests,” said Kurt Walters, Campaign Director at Demand Progress. “But with the Trump administration racing to repeal net neutrality rules, it will take unprecedented citizen mobilization – again – to ensure Washington understands the country will not stand for a corporate-controlled internet.”