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A Painful Reminder. A Moment for Change

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ANNAPOLIS — On Wednesday, Free Press Action Co-CEO Craig Aaron testified before the Economic Matters Committee of Maryland’s House of Delegates on behalf of the state’s Net Neutrality Act of 2020 (H.B. 957). If passed, the bill would prohibit internet service providers from blocking, impairing or degrading content, applications, services or devices.

“Unfortunately, the Federal Communications Commission has abdicated its responsibility to protect internet users,” Aaron testified. “That’s why we need state leaders to step in to stop blocking, throttling and other forms of manipulation designed by powerful phone and cable companies.”

In 2017, the Trump FCC repealed Obama-era Net Neutrality protections and stripped the agency of its authority under Title II of the Communications Act to protect an open internet and promote universal access. Since then, legislators and governors in dozens of states have filled the void, introducing legislation and issuing executive orders to provide Net Neutrality safeguards for their residents.

Maryland’s Net Neutrality Act was introduced by Democratic House Delegates Kirill Reznik, Alfred Carr and Lorig Charkoudian.

“Net Neutrality is an economic issue for businesses large and small. It helps ensure a thriving marketplace online and encourages companies to compete and innovate without permission,” Aaron testified. “[It] is an education issue that ensures Marylanders can go to school online, learning from Maryland’s libraries and universities — as well as institutions around the world.”

A University of Maryland survey found that 86 percent of voters opposed the Trump FCC’s repeal of Title II Net Neutrality rules, including 82 percent of Republicans and 90 percent of Democrats.

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