WASHINGTON — On Tuesday, Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R–Tennessee) introduced anti-Net Neutrality legislation that she dubbed the “Open Internet Preservation Act.” The bill lacks many of the fundamental guarantees that prevent internet access providers from interfering with online traffic.
Rep. Blackburn, who is among the top recipients of campaign contributions from the phone and cable lobby, said on Twitter that she hopes to rush the legislation to President Donald Trump’s desk for signing.
The bill reportedly includes prohibitions on blocking or throttling of internet traffic, but would not prevent pay-to-play prioritization schemes. It would also constrain FCC authority to contend with future abuses and prevent states from enacting their own Net Neutrality protections.
Free Press Action Fund President and CEO Craig Aaron made the following statement:
“Having lost their fight against Net Neutrality in the court of public opinion, companies like AT&T, Comcast and Verizon are trying to use fake Net Neutrality bills like this to end all effective oversight of their anti-competitive, anti-consumer practices.
“Blackburn’s legislation fails at the very thing it claims to accomplish. It prohibits a few open-internet violations, but opens the door to rampant abuse through paid-prioritization schemes that split the internet into fast lanes for the richest companies and slow lanes for everyone else.
“This bill’s true goal is to let a few unregulated monopolies and duopolies stifle competition and control the future of communications. This cynical attempt to offer something the tiniest bit better than what the FCC did and pretend it’s a compromise is an insult to the millions who are calling on Congress to restore real Net Neutrality.
“Congress must reject last week’s FCC ruling and restore Title II authority at the agency. The 2015 rules worked extraordinarily well from the get-go, with investment and innovation flourishing across the sector. That’s because they gave the FCC the authority to prevent paid prioritization and other forms of discrimination, while promoting competition, open markets, universal service and equal access.
“The public has spoken out in force in support of Title II Net Neutrality. If lawmakers truly wish to honor their constituents’ wishes, they should reject this bill and pass a resolution of disapproval to overturn the FCC’s recent repeal and restore the vital bipartisan principles in Title II.”